Bill to reduce painkiller OD deaths clears Senate

February 7, 2014
by Eric Eyre
Charleston Gazette

"This bill would allow first responders to administer this lifesaving [drug] instead of having to transport these folks all the way to the hospital," said Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone. "It's a great tool in our toolbox in order to cut down on the scourge of unintentional opioid [hydrocodone and oxycodone] overdoses."

West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation, according to a report released last October.

The number of overdose deaths in West Virginia -- mostly for prescription pills -- increased sixfold from 1999 to 2010, according to the report by the Trust for America's Health. West Virginians purchased more opioid pain relievers per capita than residents of all but five states.

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