What others say: Pain-killer prescription limits a reasonable idea

  • By Herald Dispatch editorial
  • Wednesday, April 12, 2017 1:41pm
  • Opinion

There is no question that over the past decade, doctors have written too many pain pill prescriptions for our region.

In 2012, West Virginia had as many prescriptions as people.

As we now know, millions of those pills were diverted to addiction, which in turn led thousands of drug users to heroin and record overdose deaths. But the number of prescriptions only tells part of the story. The large volume of doses in many of those prescriptions greatly increased the flood of pain pills coming into our region.

Between 2007-2012, the total was about 780 million pills for West Virginia alone, the Charleston Gazette-Mail has reported.

States and medical professionals are working on a number of fronts to limit the number of pain pill prescriptions, but it also makes sense to restrict the volume of pills in those prescriptions.

Last week, both Ohio and Kentucky took steps to do just that.

In Ohio, new restrictions would bar doctors from prescribing more than seven days of narcotic pain pills for adults and no more than five days for minors. The limits would not apply to cancer or hospice patients, and doctors could prescribe larger quantities for patients suffering from acute pain, if they detail specific reasons.

In Kentucky, the state Senate approved a bill to limit pain pill prescriptions to three days. That proposal also includes exceptions for cancer treatments and end-of-life care, as well as provisions for longer prescriptions for specified reasons.

West Virginia should consider prescription limits as well.

A decade ago, medical professionals often did not fully understand the dangers of these popular new pain killers. Over-prescribing ushered in a new era of drug use and addiction, and with the explosion of heroin use, much of the damage cannot be undone. But states should keep the pressure on to limit opioid prescriptions to only the most-needed situations and prevent as few pills as possible from falling into the wrong hands.

— The Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia

April 4

More in Opinion

Promise garden flowers are assembled for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Let’s keep momentum in the fight against Alzheimer’s

It’s time to reauthorize these bills to keep up our momentum in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all other types of Dementia.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., questions Navy Adm. Lisa Franchetti during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 14 on Capitol Hill.
Opinion: Music to the ears of America’s adversaries

Russia and China have interest in seeing America’s democracy and standing in the world weakened

Dr. Sarah Spencer. (Photo by Maureen Todd and courtesy of Dr. Sarah Spencer)
Opinion: Alaskans needs better access to addiction treatment. Telehealth can help.

I have witnessed firsthand the struggles patients face in accessing addiction care

Former Gov. Frank Murkowski speaks on a range of subjects during an interview with the Juneau Empire in May 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Need for accounting and legislative oversight of the permanent fund

There is a growing threat to the permanent fund, and it is coming from the trustees themselves

(Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Imagine the cost of health and happiness if set by prescription drug companies

If you didn’t have heartburn before seeing the price, you will soon — and that requires another prescription

Mike Arnold testifies in opposition to the use of calcium chloride by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on Kenai Peninsula roads during a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Peninsula Votes: Civic actions that carried weight

Watching an impressive display of testimony, going to an event, or one post, can help so many people learn about something they were not even aware of

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Helicopter fishing a detriment to fish and fishers

Proposal would prohibit helicopter transport for anglers on southern peninsula

The cover of the October 2023 edition of Alaska Economic Trends magazine, a product of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (Image via department website)
Dunleavy administration’s muzzling of teacher pay report is troubling

Alaska Economic Trends is recognized both in Alaska and nationally as an essential tool for understanding Alaska’s unique economy

Image via weseeyou.community
5 tips for creating a culture of caring in our high schools

Our message: No matter what challenges you’re facing, we see you. We support you. And we’re here for you.

The Alaska State Capitol is photographed in Juneau, Alaska. (Clarise Larson/Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Vance’s bill misguided approach to Middle East crisis

In arguing for her legislation, Vance offers a simplistic, one-dimensional understanding of the conflict

A rainbow appears over downtown as residents check out rows of electric vehicles at Juneau’s EV & E-bike Roundup on Sept. 23. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: We should all pay more for the privilege of driving

Alaska has the lowest gas tax in the country

Opinion: Sports saves

ASAA has decided to take a vulnerable subgroup of these youth and reinforce that they are different and unwelcome