Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

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 W.Va. Senate fights drugs: Task force to combat abuse of prescriptions

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lilgirllost
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PostSubject: W.Va. Senate fights drugs: Task force to combat abuse of prescriptions   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:27 pm

I know this is a news article as well, but there is some important info in this article that could potentially affect those of us who attend MMT clinics so I thought it best to put it here.

You notice that they say there was " One bill, regarding methadone clinics, was taken off the table Friday because it violates federal law; the senators involved in that decision said it needs more work." but they never say what the bill was. If it violates federal regs you can bet that it is something that makes things harder for those of us who attend a clinic! Scares me to know what it might have been! I tried to research it to see if I could find out exactly what the bill was, but haven't been able to find much info.

The info I DID find sounded like it actually might have been beneficial to us. Here is that one and it comes from http://www.wowktv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=19164&catid=48

Bill would limit new methadone clinics that wish to open in the state.
CHARLESTON -- State legislators are working on a bill they say would take the profit out of methadone treatment and make treatment the number one priority.
Senator Jon Blair Hunter's bill would limit all new methadone clinic licenses, after July 1st, 2007, to non-profit corporations.
All of the current methadone clinics in West Virginia are run by out of state, for-profit companies.
Hunter, D-Monongalia, said the treatments are vital and allow many people to work, but he's concerned that the current clinics do not have the motivation he thinks they should have to ween people off of methadone.
He said the use of methadone is an addiction in itself and that the clinics substitute one addiction for another.
If the bill passes, it would not have a large affect on the current clinics, like the Clarksburg Treatment Center. Hunter said a small effect may be that some of its clients from farther away could receive their treatments closer to home if new non-profit clinics opened.
The bill is awaiting approval of the Senate.
Hunter represents Monongalia and Preston counties out of the 14th District.



This original topic of my posting comes from the DOMINION POST, Morgantown West Virginia. The link is at the bottom of the article.


Jan. 31--CHARLESTON -- The state Senate has taken up the fight against prescription drug abuse with a new task force and a package of bills intended to combat the problem.

Nationally, drug poisoning is the second-leading cause of unintentional deaths after automobile accidents, said Sen. Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, a member of the task force. He addressed the Senate about the package of bills and the group assembled by Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin.

Fifteen million Americans abuse prescription drugs, Jenkins said, and West Virginia has the highest per capita prescription use in the nation.

"The time to act is now while we have an opportunity to act," he said.

Two WVU Physicians agree that the problem is dire and action is needed.

Prescription pain medicines are "becoming the drug of choice for individuals," said Dr. Rick Vaglienti, director of the WVU Hospitals (WVUH) Pain Clinic. "The demand for these drugs for illicit use has gone up."

And Dr. James Berry, inpatient addiction-services director at WVUH's Chestnut Ridge Hospital, said, "For the last five years, there's been a gigantic problem with a lot of people overdosing and dying. ... A lot more people are being treated for dependence and abuse."

While a small percentage of patients on opioid pain medications will face addiction and abuse issues, they said, the problem is chiefly "diversion" and "doctor shopping" -- illicitly obtaining prescriptions from various doc- tors and selling the drugs on the black market.
The incentive to sell the drugs is huge, Jenkins said: 100 10-mg Valium tablets cost $300, and can be resold at a street value of $1,000; 100 80-mg Oxycontin pills cost $1,100, and can sell for $8,000.

So far, the task force -- which also includes Sens. Ron Stollings, Clark Barnes, Larry Edgell, Dan Foster, Roman Prezioso, Robert Plymale and Corey Palumbo -- has introduced seven bills, and more are expected.

Among the bills on the table:

SB 330 codifies the Partnership to Promote Community Well-Being, a group previously created by executive order. Jenkins said senators worked with various stakeholders -- including law enforcement, substance abuse counselors, providers, pharmacists, the courts -- to formulate the package and then took it to the partnership as the bestequipped agency to coordinate the efforts.

SB 361 places the painkiller Tramadol (Ultram) on the Schedule IV list of controlled substances along with 49 other depressants and painkillers, and a number of other drugs. Berry said this is a good move because tramadol is potentially addictive.

SB 362 amends existing law prohibiting obtaining prescriptions by fraud. It adds providing false information to the code, and increase the fine from $1,000 to $2,500 and raises the jail time from six to nine months.

SB 364 adds the chief medical examiner to the limited list of officials who can view the Controlled Substances Monitoring Act Database -- which collects infor mation from every prescription for a controlled substance.

SB 365 requires all pharmacies to grant personnel access to the database. Right now, Jenkins said, some chain pharmacies don't allow this, and it's a necessary tool to track doctor shopping.

One bill, regarding methadone clinics, was taken off the table Friday because it violates federal law; the senators involved in that decision said it needs more work.

People who've used prescription opioid pain medications in the proper way know that the drugs can relieve pain, but they can also make you sleepy and cause nausea and constipation, among other side effects, doctors said.

And the motivation for the black market sellers is obvious, as Jenkins pointed out -- money.

But what's the attraction for users? Vaglienti said that when it's taken in an alternate manner -- ground up and snorted, for instance -- the opiatelike effect is intensified, producing a high.

Ignorance plays a part in the problem, Jenkins said. A study showed that teens believe opioids must be safer than illegal drugs because they're prescribed by a doctor, and they're easy to get from their parents' medicine cabinets.

Vaglienti said the proposed package is a good star t. He is concerned that good intentions could go bad, and warns against overregulation.

Some states have enacted laws that limit the dosage doctors can prescribe. He disagrees with this decision because every patient is different, and doctors need latitude to decide how much to prescribe.

If legislation is passed, he said, "make sure people who need medicine can get it."
Berry runs the inpatient and outpatient addiction clinics at Chestnut Ridge. He said there are two keys to tackling the problem.

One is education. He travels the state speaking to care providers and the public, to make them aware of the problem.

The other is lack of personnel. More counselors and professionals who can supervise treatment are needed, he said. Chestnut Ridge, for example, is at capacity and has a waiting list.

"Many rural areas have no one to send people to," he said.

Jenkins agrees with that point. "We are woefully inadequate in our ability to provide proper cousenling treatment" across the state, he said.

More bills are on the way, he said, and even then the battle has just begun. "This is a start, this is not a finish."

To see more of The Dominion Post or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.dominionpost.com/.

Copyright (c) 2010, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


RuthAnn
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We are not bad people trying to become good, we are sick people trying to become well.

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