Preventing prescription drug overdoses: Where W.Va. stands
See our main story, "Prescription drug abuse takes deadly toll in W.Va.," here.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made recommendations for reducing overdose deaths caused by opiate painkillers. Here's a look at some of those recommendations, and where West Virginia stands.
For health-care providers
Where W.Va. stands: The state medical board has a policy on pain management that includes a few of these concepts. The board encourages doctors to use the state's prescription drug-monitoring program, a database of prescriptions dispensed in the state. The policy doesn't require it.
For state and federal agencies
Where W.Va. stands: West Virginia has a prescription drug-monitoring program, but the program doesn't send routine reports to providers. A report released this month by the state Legislative Auditor recommends changes so that officials can use the system to detect possible "doctor shopping" and track unusual prescribing patterns.
Where W.Va. stands: The state Medicaid program and the Public Employees Insurance Agency monitor claims for controlled substances. For example, PEIA's pharmacy benefit manager sets parameters based on the amount of controlled substances a member receives, the number of doctors who prescribe it, and the number of pharmacies the member visits for these prescriptions within a designated time. When a member meets these parameters, their doctors get a letter alerting them.
Where W.Va. stands: Experts say many West Virginians lack access to substance-abuse treatment.