The money will educate addiction counselors about methadone and other dangerous prescription drugs, he said. Counselors will educate addicts about how to stay safe if they choose to continue to abuse drugs.
Mason said doctors and pharmacists also need more training about the safe prescribing of methadone.
�If we had better education of physicians in medical schools around addiction, if they could be more aware of the dangers of what they�re prescribing, that would help,� Mason said. �Doctors are trying to relieve pain and that�s their job. But there are some physicians who prescribe too much.�
The West Virginia Medical Association plans to educate doctors about methadone�s risks, said spokeswoman Helen Matheny.
The association will publish an article about methadone by West Virginia University professor Chris Terpening in its medical journal, she said.
The Appalachian Pain Foundation has been trying to educate local health providers for years on the proper use of painkillers, said its director, Skip Lineburg.
The group got its start with the help of drug manufacturers, but now relies solely upon federal grants, he said. It sponsors workshops for medical professionals about how to diagnose and safely treat pain.
The Appalachian Pain Foundation�s Web site is www.paincentral.com.
To read the rest of the series, The Killer Cure, go to www.wvgazette.com/section/Series/The Killer Cure.
To contact staff writers Scott Finn or Tara Tuckwiller, use e-mail or call 357-4323 or 348-5189.