Opinion

It’s time to stop illegal use of drugs meant to help

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., had the quote of the week: “There are more legal prescription drugs harming people than illegal drugs.”

And he’s right. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 40 people die every day in the U.S. from overdoses of prescription painkillers. More people die from medicine out of a bottle than heroin.

 And West Virginia? Our state has the highest drug overdose rate than any state in the nation.

Speaking at the National Prescription Drug Summit in Atlanta last week, Manchin announced he’s introducing legislation that would seek to rein in the Food and Drug Administration, which he says is far too willing to approve new pain drugs, oftentimes contrary to the recommendations of the FDA’s drug advisory panel.

“This holds the FDA accountable for what they’re doing,” Manchin told The Charleston Gazette. “The question is why are there so many painkiller medications coming into the market? Why does the FDA not take the recommendations of its own advisory council?”

Manchin also will introduce a measure called the “Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,” which would compel doctors to take 16 hours of training before being allowed to prescribe powerful painkillers.

The bill would also make it easier for police to track pain pill prescriptions in the state, and it would allow the federal government to track overdose deaths and to demand reports on those deaths.

It’s funny how the war on drugs has turned from tracking down cartel kingpins to the person in the white coat running the pain clinic down the street…

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