MORGANTOWN — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office and West Virginia University’s School of Medicine are collaborating on a multi-faceted approach to reduce prescription painkiller abuse in the state.
Morrisey and Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean for health sciences at WVU, discussed the collaboration Sept. 15 during a meeting in Morgantown.
“I’m honored to collaborate with Dr. Marsh and West Virginia University in eradicating this deadly scourge,” Morrisey said in a statement. “WVU’s Medical School plays a vital role in educating our medical community and treating patients across the state.
"I know our collaboration will yield tremendous results for a healthier, drug-free West Virginia.”
The collaboration will focus upon ways to equip prescribers and patients with the knowledge to reduce the use of opioid painkillers.
“Building strong communities is one of the keys to reversing our opioid problem,” Marsh said. “I’m pleased to see elected officials and others taking a collaborative approach to this issue and supporting our health community and educators.”
Morrisey and school officials discussed collaborating on guidelines for doctors and others who prescribe opioid painkillers, while preserving patient access to necessary treatment.
Their patient-focused discussion involved potentially drafting an opioid awareness curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Both sides also discussed commissioning a study to explore the use of opioid painkillers to treat high school sport injuries in West Virginia.
West Virginia’s opioid overdose death rate leads the nation, and experts agree an addiction to opioid painkillers can lead to heroin abuse.