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

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: The foolish men claiming self-defense

It’s not just misguided teenagers carrying guns who find themselves in trouble with the law.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: State defends its right to cut nonexistent taxes

This from a state that has no property tax on homes or businesses, only on the oil industry.

Dr. Jay Butler, former chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccines

The COVID vaccines remain our strongest tool in combating the pandemic and helping us return to our lives and the things we love and cherish.

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: All votes matter

In the beginning, only property-holding white men could vote.

Cristen San Roman. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Is management of Cook Inlet catered to special interest groups?

If these fish are so at risk, why is BOEM able to move forward with lease sale 258?

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Grateful for the hidden ‘good’

Gratitude: Noun The state of being grateful; thankfulness. The state or quality… Continue reading

Homer High School Principal Douglas Waclawski. (Photo provided)
Point of View: What is Homer High School about?

What I consider Homer High’s strength is that we are a place for learning.

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Invent your future at UAA

At UAA we’re providing the tools to help students of all ages and skills chart a new course forward.

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Vaccination is the still best protection from COVID-19

The Alaska State Medical Association encourages you to protect yourselves and your community from preventable illness by getting recommended vaccines.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The sad diminishment of Rep. Don Young

Young seems afraid to demand his party leader defend the dignity of the institution he loves.

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: Restore our strong campaign donation limits

Without campaign spending limits, the ideal of one person, one vote is no longer really true.

The Final Redistricting Map approved for the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna area is seen on Nov. 9, 2021. (Map via akredistrict.org)
Alaska Voices: The Alaska Redistricting Board’s last-minute gerrymandering failed Alaska

Our Constitution outlines rules for a redistricting process designed to uphold public trust.