"This fight won't be won in the courthouse or the statehouse or the House or the Senate, it has to be won house by house," Goodwin said.
Sen. Manchin is pushing for legislation that would change hydrocodone -- the most prescribed drug in the country -- from a schedule 3 narcotic to a schedule 2 narcotic, making it much more difficult to over-prescribe and abuse. But, like the other speakers, he stressed that solutions need to come through parents, kids, teachers and friends.
"Government is your partner, your ally," Manchin said. "We can only do so much, as a community, you've got to want it."
Many blamed renegade doctors and pharmacists for over-prescribing highly abused medications, specifically hydrocodone and OxyContin, the drug that's given the town its nickname and the movie its name.
Joseph Rannazzisi, an administrator with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, described patients going to as many as five doctors to get repeat prescriptions and then selling the pills. There are monitoring systems in place to stop this, but too often they go unused.
"Why aren't the doctors using the monitoring programs?" Rannazzisi asked. "The doctors don't do it and neither do the pharmacists because it's too time consuming. Is patient care too time consuming?
"There are bad doctors and bad pharmacists and bad nurses and bad companies that are doing this for one reason, greed."
It's a problem not just in Oceana, not just in the coal towns of Appalachia, but across the country.
"It is of epic proportion," Manchin said. "Everyone I come across knows someone who's been affected."
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.