Prescription Drug Summit At Pocahontas Opera House September 14th

Marlinton, WV – You need look no further than the increasing numbers of people arrested on drug charges to realize that Pocahontas County has a serious drug abuse problem. What may be surprising is that prescription drugs are now taking the lead as the most abused drug of choice. The Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition in conjunction with the county Sheriffs’ dept. wants to do something to reduce and reverse these statistics. Those ideas will be discussed at a prescription drug summit meeting on September 14th at the Opera House in Marlinton.

Earlier this summer the Prevention Coalition held a series of meetings to gather input from the community about drug abuse. Concerned residents, the Sheriff, staff from the county Prosecuting Attorneys’ office and at least two former addicts joined Prevention Coalition staff to discuss the first steps in attacking this problem.

Prevention Coalition drug summit coordinator Thomas Peterson says part of the problem is over prescription of drugs prescribed for legitimate reasons.

“One of the concerns that was brought up was the amount of pills prescribed” says Peterson. “If someone goes and gets a prescription for any kind of pain medication, instead of giving them enough for a week, they’re getting a prescription of 90 pills. They don’t give them a small amount and then evaluate the situation afterwards.”

One former abuser says some people are more inclined to try to sell the extra medication rather than turn the drugs back over to a pharmacist. Sheriff David Jonese says in talking with local doctors most are very strict about limiting the amount of pills prescribed. But Jonese says doctors in surrounding counties may not be as diligent, especially with those who “doctor shop” to get multiple prescriptions of the same drug.

Other problems identified include a lack of legislation for tracking possible prescription drug abuse and those who are willing to look the other way because friends or family are the abusers. Peterson says they’ll present the ideas gathered from the community meetings at the summit meeting Tuesday night.

“We’ll talk about all the ideas and concerns that people have had throughout all these discussions, we kind of recap all that” he says. “That’s [also] where we’ll explain the plan of attack, so to speak, as to ways that we’re going to get this information to the community.”

Dr. Mike O’Neill of the WV Board of Pharmacy, Sheriff Jonese and Tracy Samples, HR Director at Snowshoe Mt Resort are the featured speakers for the summit. A representative from the WV Governors office will also be on hand.

The summit begins at 5pm with informational booths. Dinner is at 6pm, followed by the speakers at 7pm. The event will be held at the Pocahontas Opera House in Marlinton on Tuesday, September 14th.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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