Obama announces US will tackle prescription drug abuse in Charle - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Obama announces US will tackle prescription drug abuse in Charleston

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President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting in Charleston, WV on prescription drug abuse and heroin use. President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting in Charleston, WV on prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/ WVVA) - President Barack Obama says prescription drug abuse is exacting a terrible toll across the country and causing pain for millions of families.

Obama was in West Virginia on Wednesday to highlight the problem. He announced new steps to help improve doctor training and ease access to drug treatment.

He says sales of powerful prescription pain medications have skyrocketed by 300 percent since 1999.

And in 2012 alone, doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for these highly addictive drugs. Obama says that was more than enough to give a bottle of pills to every American adult.

But he says the federal government alone can't solve the problem.

West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S., more than twice the national average.

Senator Joe Manchin released the following statement on the President's drug abuse forum:

"It was an honor to welcome the President to our state today for a powerful discussion with West Virginians who are on the frontlines of opioid abuse. I was especially touched by the heart-wrenching stories from the families who have been personally impacted. If we want to end the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic that claims the lives of more than 600 West Virginians and 16,000 Americans every year, we must come at this problem from every angle and work with every partner. I am pleased that the President came to our state for this important national discussion and that the Administration has outlined a strategy to bring federal, state, local, faith-based and private sector actors together to address this critical issue. This visit has allowed us as a state to show the President and the country first-hand the opioid abuse that is destroying families and communities across our beautiful state, the dedicated work our citizens are doing to save our communities and the critical help we need to stop this epidemic. West Virginians are strong and resilient, and if we continue to work together, I know we can win this war on drug abuse and save lives.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito released the following statement on President Obama's visit to West Virginia:

“I appreciate President Obama traveling to West Virginia today to address a devastating problem – the growing drug epidemic harming our communities, families and loved ones – and raise needed attention about the issues facing the Mountain State. Several of the efforts announced by the administration today enjoy bipartisan support and are important steps to end prescription drug abuse and heroin use, improve access to treatment and stem this mounting public health concern. Over the past several months, I have worked with local communities, law enforcement, health professionals and others to develop a spectrum of solutions to curb this epidemic and am pleased we have a partner in the White House on this issue. While we still have a long road ahead, I am encouraged that with ongoing efforts in Congress and the new efforts announced by the administration today, we can make meaningful strides toward a drug-free West Virginia.”

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