"Between 2001 and 2008, more than nine out of 10 drug-related deaths in West Virginia involved prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2004, there was a 550 percent increase in deaths from prescription drug overdose in the state," Rockefeller wrote.
Today, West Virginia ranks second in the nation in the rate of deaths from prescription drug overdoses, especially opioid painkillers.
The DEA also wants to enforce rules it created to dispose of prescription drugs safely, including mail-back programs and setting up local events to recover unused controlled substances.
In August, Rockefeller added four Northern Panhandle counties -- Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall -- to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. That makes them eligible for additional federal funds to fight prescription drug abuse and trafficking.
Rockefeller also has secured federal funds for programs to hire and train police officers, to provide additional services for at-risk young people and to educate physicians and patients.
He also supports monitoring programs to prevent "doctor shopping" and buying prescription drugs across state lines.
Rockefeller also got the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to conduct a continuing medical education course about prescribing opioids at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg on Sept. 28.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.