Study: Opioid Rx were down in Waynesboro in 2015. but still thrice national average

According to the CDC, the average amount of opioids prescribed nationally peaked in 2010 at 782 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per person. That number had declined to 640 MME in 2015.

While the numbers for Waynesboro and Staunton show similar declines, figures for both years were still well above average. The CDC study indicates 1955.1 MME for Waynesboro in 2015, and 1592.8 MME for Staunton in 2015. 

In 2010, the figures for the two cities were 2232.7 MME per person in Waynesboro, and 1967.1 MME for Staunton.

Area police and health officials say coordination has improved in combating opioid abuse in Virginia, including a prescription monitoring program that allows physicians to look at a patient’s controlled substance prescription history. And one local police officer said an area drug task force he is a member of is now working with a physician to stem the tide of valid prescriptions being used to illegally sell opioid pain pills such as Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin.

While the study doesn’t touch on non-prescription opioid drugs such as heroin, which makes up a significant portion of the opioid epidemic, doctors and law enforcement say prescription drug abuse is nonetheless a big part of the problem. In many areas, in fact, it’s a far worse problem than heroin and other so-called “street” drugs.

The acting director of the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat, said “the amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. is still too high, with too many opioid prescriptions for too many days at too high a dosage.”

Schuchat said healthcare providers “have an important role in offering safer and more effective pain management while reducing risks of opioid addiction and overdose.”

Dr. Laura Kornegay, health director of the Central Shenandoah Health District in Staunton, said there are some potential drawbacks and limitations of the CDC study, though she notes that those issues are acknowledged by the report’s authors. The drawbacks, Kornegay says, include the fact that the data was gathered from a third party warehouse and has not been validated. She also points out that the county-level analyses in the study are aggregated by the county where the opioid is dispensed, and not where the prescription is written or where the patient lives.

Nevertheless, Kornegay said “the issue with opiates is a significant public health emergency in our state and country as a whole,” and that any data that helps to shed light on the problem, and potential solutions, are welcome.

Last December, Virginia’s health commissioner declared opioid addiction a public health emergency in the commonwealth and issued a standing prescription for any resident to get the drug Naloxone, a drug used to treat overdoses, without a doctor’s specific OK.

Kornegay said there have been multiple actions taken by the Virginia Board of Medicine and medical societies, hospitals and clinics with the goal of ensuring the proper prescribing of opiates.

Recently updated guidelines from the Virginia Board of Medicine call for limiting the amount of medication prescribed, as well as continuing the close monitoring of patients for abuse potential, and also to know when the medication can be stopped. The guidelines also says doctors should avoid combinations of different kinds of controlled medicines, such as opioid painkillers and sedatives such as Valium or Ativan.

Police in the area are also working with medical professionals on opioid abuse. Capt. Mike Martin is the commander of the Waynesboro Police Department’s special operations division and a member of the Skyline Drug Task Force.

He said one area physician has reached out to the task force to identify people who are abusing and selling their prescriptions, including opioid prescriptions.

“For the first time we have created a direct line of communication between the prescribers and the enforcers,’’ said Martin. Now officers can let doctors know when one or more of their patients is selling their prescriptions — information the doctor can use to ensure that those patients either receive no more opioid prescriptions, or, if it’s absolutely needed, such as in the case of terminal cancer, that it is dispensed and monitored under strict guidelines. 

Previously, the CDC has provided guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Those guidelines include using the drugs only when the benefits outweigh the risks, and starting with the lowest effective dose.

I am seeing more and more evidence that the “powers to be” are using questionable data and ignoring other more solid data to come to a conclusion(s) that may be preconceived and/or feed an agenda.

Highlighted text in this article – IMO – clearly demonstrates this. I see – all to often – where people – on both sides of the issues – are jumping to conclusions after reading a HEADLINE and/or after reading certain words, sentences or paragraphs.

Federal officer or employee may NOT exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine  A 1935 federal law recently came to my attention – link above.  It appears that this federal statue would put into question the legality of a number of federal laws, regulations, guidelines that is attempting to compromise appropriate therapy for those with chronic health issues… especially those with subjective diseases.  There is an increasing number of various bureaucratic entities on the city, county, state, federal level that are determined to impose their will on those suffering from subjective diseases.  Getting a law declared unconstitutional, will cost several millions of dollars and will not have any monetary payback… it will only mean that the laws can no longer be enforced.  This means that unless those suffering from subjective diseases starts putting their dollars together and hire a law firm to take this on… Nothing will be reversed … will only continue to progress on the path which is currently on.


3 Responses

  1. It seems to me that decisions have, and are being made by the UN Convention on Global “Disability Rights”, and Universal RE-DESIGNING of treaties concerning Human,and Civil rights, in which the majority are not informed, notified, or made aware-of. After scanning through an enormous amount of “legal” and redefined definitions of disability, and global human rights , including the politically correct way in which to communicate with those designated as disabled; I had to stop reading the material which I accidentally came-upon, as.the first 50 or more pages were agonizingly meaningless and repetitive, following announcements of attitudes,and outcomes from public health, and social models used in treatment for disabled persons.
    The “Medical” Model, Institutionalization, de-institutionalization, Informed Consent, economic status outcomes, Social Supports, “Rights” Of Persons With Disabilities,along with cultural philosophies which interpreted it’s meaning.
    I found myself becoming increasingly agitated, as nothing I had read revealed situations in which the difference between Ability and Disability were a matter of receiving appropriate and adequate medication, which has been proven effective and works for the purpose as to why it was created. Another disturbing non-disclosure is the fact that the current pandemic of “Lyme”, and related infectious disease, need not result in disabling conditions if more sensitive tests, and timely interventions were initiated.
    The Bottom-Line is that there are Obscene Abuses Of power, greed, and hatred.
    The few Sociopaths don’t want people to heal; they thrive on the pain and suffering of others, and need to be taken-down. Depopulation is a tame word for this Holocaust that’s out of control.

  2. I have thought the same thing, if everyone in pain community could donate $1 – $5 to hire a lawyer, we can come up with a lot of money. Don’t know who to start this. We need it.

    • I’m with you. I’m so fed up with it it’s like living hell on earth. The DRA has these doctors so scared of losing their livelihood they forgot the patient is the one who suffer.

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