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U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE AND U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCE PRESCRIPTION DRUG "TAKE-BACK" RESULTS FOR WEST VIRGINIA
Take-Back Initiative Collects More Than 3600 Pounds of Unwanted Prescription Medications Statewide; Surpasses April’s Collection Effort Total
On October 31, 2011, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Resident Agent in Charge Dennis Bolum jointly announced that as a result of the October 29th Prescription Drug “Take-Back” event, a total of 3,676 pounds of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs were collected from citizens and households across West Virginia. The October 29th collection results surpassed April’s prescription drug collection total of 3,178 pounds and also exceeded totals collected following a similar Take-Back effort held in September 2010 (2404 pounds).
In announcing the results, U.S. Attorney Goodwin emphasized that based on statistics, seventy percent of people who use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes get the drugs from friends or a family member. “Proper drug disposal is an essential piece of the puzzle that we have implemented here in West Virginia to reduce prescription narcotic diversion. We are pleased yet again that so many West Virginians have shown a willingness to get involved in helping us attack the prescription drug crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin.
The October “Take-Back” designated more than 100 sites throughout West Virginia, providing citizens with various locations to drop off expired, unused and unwanted medications. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Resident Agent in Charge Dennis Bolum stated, “Prescription drug abuse has plagued so many of our communities and to have people voluntarily take prescriptions out of the homes and dispose of them properly, truly helps our fight against prescription drug abuse. I commend all of the federal, state and local partners in West Virginia for their assistance which has made this third ‘Take-Back’ a success.”
The National Prescription Drug “Take-Back” held in April hosted more than 5,100 sites nationwide in an effort to prevent pill abuse and theft.
U.S. ATTORNEY BOOTH GOODWIN AND GOVERNOR EARL RAY TOMBLIN UNVEIL “A WEST VIRGINIA SUMMIT ON PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE” REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
West Virginia State Police Also Launch New Awareness Tool to Help Children Recognize the Dangers of Prescription Drug Misuse
On August 11, 2011, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin unveiled a comprehensive report and recommendations resulting from the statewide Summit on Prescription Drug Abuse held in February 2011. The report was officially announced during press conferences held in Charleston at the West Virginia Drug Endangered Children Conference and at the Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton, West Virginia. The report, which includes recommendations designed to assist the state’s ongoing battle against prescription drug abuse, outlines necessary action steps in five key areas including education, monitoring, disposal, enforcement and early intervention/treatment.
Among the recommendations detailed in the report include: a list of best practices for medical professionals; ideas to further develop education and outreach; and techniques to build on the progress that has been made involving prescription drug monitoring and proper disposal. The report also focuses on task force enforcement efforts and initiatives and provides details regarding the importance of early intervention/treatment of substance abuse.
"I wanted to make sure this was not just another report that would gather dust on a shelf. I wanted it to be something useful to policy makers, medical professionals, law enforcement officers and community leaders. I wanted it to be something that would further the dialogue on this problem and provide thoughtful suggestions on steps to solve it. I wanted it to be something people would share. I believe it is all that,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin.
To view the Prescription Drug Report, please click the image below:
In addition to the prescription drug report launch, Col. Jay Smithers, superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, unveiled a new awareness poster designed to educate children about the potential dangers of sharing prescription drugs and the effects of prescription drug abuse. The artful design which features a host of items that are typically associated with prescription drug abuse, was initiated and designed by the State Police. The new poster will now be available to schools and pharmacies across the state.
Offical poster can be found below:
U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ANNOUNCE MAJOR PRESCRIPTION DRUG DISTRIBUTION CRACKDOWN INITIATIVE
On June 2, 2011, U.S. Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II, joined by Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash, Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney Rick Staton, Bluefield Police Chief Joe Wilson, Mercer County Sheriff Don Meadows, West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations Captain Tim Bradley and various community leaders announced the launch of a major initiative aimed at eliminating prescription drug distribution in the southern region of West Virginia. The Bluefield Pill Initiative (BPI) is a collaborative, multi-agency regional law enforcement effort designed to crack down on prescription drug trafficking specifically in Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming Counties.
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies involved in the initiative have combined resources to launch the regional strategy. The Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force serves as the lead group responsible for coordinating investigations related to the initiative. The Southern Regional Task Force consists of the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Sheriffs’ Departments of Mercer, McDowell and Wyoming County, as well as the Bluefield and Princeton Police Departments.
U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCE PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK RESULTS FOR WEST VIRGINIA
On May 3, 2011, U.S. Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Resident Agent in Charge Dennis Bolum jointly announced that as a result of the April 30 Prescription Drug Take-Back event in West Virginia, a total of 3178 pounds of prescription drugs were collected statewide. The results of the second Take-Back exceed last September's statewide total of 2404 pounds of prescription drugs.
The southern half of the state netted 1,824 pounds of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs from citizens and households. The collection results for the southern half of West Virginia surpass its September total of 1,199 pounds of prescriptions.
"Last week's Take-Back proves yet again that West Virginians want to be part of the solution to the prescription drug crisis," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. "Citizens from around this district have embraced our efforts to rid medicine cabinets of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. Taking old prescriptions out of homes eliminates one major avenue through which they fall into the wrong hands," Goodwin continued.
The Take-Back provided more than 100 sites throughout West Virginia to accept expired, unused and unwanted medications.
DEA Resident Agent in Charge Bolum stated, "Prescription drug abuse has plagued so many of our communities. To have people voluntarily take prescriptions out of their homes and dispose of them properly truly helps our fight against prescription drug abuse. I commend all of the federal, state and local partners in West Virginia for their assistance, which has made this second Take-Back a success."
According to the DEA, last September Americans turned in more than 242,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites. The April 30 National Prescription Drug Take-Back hosted more than 5,100 sites nationwide in an effort to prevent pill abuse and theft.
Goodwin noted that seventy percent of people who use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes get the drugs from friends or a family member. "We have a four-point plan in place to eliminate prescription drug abuse. Proper drug disposal is an essential part of that strategy. We will continue to work diligently to make sure that citizens have an opportunity to get rid of their unused prescriptions."
FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS COME TOGETHER TO FIGHT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE IN WEST VIRGINIA
On February 25, 2011, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin hosted the Office forNational Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin along with several leaders from the medical, drug treatment, and law enforcement community at a West Virginia Summit on Prescription Drug Abuse. More than 200 attendees gathered today at the University of Charleston’s Geary Student Union ballroom to discuss solutions to fight the spread of prescription drug abuse. Prescription drug abuse has been identified as the state’s fastest growing problem.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin stated, “I believe that we took a giant step forward in our mission totakeonthis problem.The prescription drug epidemic is a unique problem and it is enormous in its reach. The great challenge with prescription drugs is to build bridges between fields that up until now have not known each other very well.” Goodwin added that this is an issue that the state cannot prosecute, treat or legislate its way out of. “The only way we are going to get out of the current crisis is to communicate and we were able to lay that groundwork today.”
During his keynote luncheon speech, National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske commended the attendees at the meeting in Charleston for working together. Kerlikowske shared several suggestions that he believes will help take on the spread of prescription drugs. Among the suggestions mentioned by the nation’s drug policy director was the implementation of drug monitoring programs in every state, more convenient drug disposal and drug prescriber education for practitioners. Director Kerlikowske said that he was optimistic that if leaders continue to work together, that a huge dent will be made in this problem. Prescription drug abuse is the top crime problem in the Southern District of West Virginia.
Prescription drug abuse is a leading cause of death in West Virginia and it has also been linked to 90 percent of all property crimes in pockets of the Southern District of West Virginia.
Speakers at the daylong Prescription Drug Summit discussed several recommendations aimed to take on the drug abuse issue. Among the recommendations made during the Summit was more focus on treatment, an increase in education and a change in culture within households relating to the storage of prescription medication.
The West Virginia Prescription Drug Summit was co-sponsored by the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center, and the West Virginia Partnership to Promote Community Well-being.
Please click the link below to view the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's four-point plan to fight prescription drug abuse: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/pdf/rx_abuse_plan.pdf