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Task Force Suggests State Law Change To Fight Substance Abuse

Reported by: Send eMail Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 27, 2013 11:48 AM EST
Updated: Nov. 27, 2013 11:54 AM EST

Eyewitness News Photo
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

The Kanawha County Substance Abuse Task Force said it supports a change in the state code that would allow felony charges to be brought against individuals convicted of three or more misdemeanor crimes directly or indirectly related to substance abuse.

In its final report, prepared by former state lawmaker Dan Foster, chairman of the task force, the group said this law change would serve as an element of deterrence for first-time offenders.

Task force members also said in their final report that:

* A Good Samaritan law should be enacted that would provide “a degree of immunity or mitigation of sentencing for individuals seeking to help themselves or others experiencing an overdose.”

* In addition to those committing felonies, repeat misdemeanor drug violators should be eligible for drug court referral.

* Tramadol should be made a Schedule IV controlled substance.

* Naloxone should be made available to all first responders to treat opiod overdose patients.

* Hydrocodone should be made a Schedule II controlled substance.

* Newly marketed long-acting opioid drugs should only be available in a tamper-resistant form.

* Proactive analysis and response component of the controlled substance monitoring program should be fully implemented as rapidly as possible.

“When utilized as designed, it could more effectively identify and restrict the activities of doctor shoppers, pill mills and pharmacies with questionable dispensing practices,” the task force said.

* The controlled substance monitoring program should send annual report cards to the top 5 percent of subscribers.

* Increased funding for substance abuse prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery and public education.

* An anonymous tip line should be put in place for the public to report suspected health care provider prescribing indiscretions.



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