E-News August 1, 2015

ADA joins group to fight drug abuse

The American Dental Association has jointed a group of 27 medical organizations to tackle the continuing epidemic of narcotic painkiller abuse. The group says such drugs as Oxycontin and Vicodin have become a public health crisis, with 44 Americans dying each day from overdoses and many more becoming addicted.  The CDC reports fatal overdoses involving prescription narcotics tripled between 1999 and 2012.

The group is asking all prescribers to use their state’s prescription drug monitoring programs as part of their decision-making process when considering treatment options for patients.  These programs are shown to be effective in helping doctors spot patients who may be abusing painkillers and deciding on appropriate treatment.

The WV Board of Pharmacy administers such a program in West Virginia. Recent enhancements, including pharmacies downloading controlled substance data each day, have resulted in “real-time” information on each patient obtaining scheduled products being available to prescribers.

WV law requires all prescribers, including dentists, to register with the Board of Pharmacy before writing prescriptions for controlled substances.


WV is capital of mind-altering drug use

One may think of California being the epic of American drug culture, reports The Washington Post.  But a new study from Gallup finds the use of mood-altering drugs is highest in West Virginia.  California is third on this measure.

According to the survey, 28.1% of West Virginians said they altered their mood with drugs almost every day, the highest percentage of any state.  WV was followed by Rhode Island, Kentucky, Alabama and Louisiana.  Nationally, 18.9% Americans say they take drugs to relax almost every day, while 62.2% say they never do.