Preventing prescription drug overdoses: Where W.Va. stands
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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
They include: Use opiate painkillers only after determining that alternative therapies don't work well enough; consider random drug testing for patients under 65 with non-cancer pain; consult with a pain specialist if a patient doesn't improve at a certain dosage; routinely request reports from the state prescription-drug monitoring program.
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
State prescription-drug monitoring programs should routinely send reports to providers on patients under age 65 if they are being treated with opiate painkillers for more than six weeks by two or more providers or if there are signs of inappropriate use of controlled substances.