West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has announced a series of public service announcements to promote better understanding of the opioid epidemic and encourage West Virginia consumers to explore non-opioid alternatives to pain therapy.
The initiative depicts prescription opioid abuse as a killer loose in West Virginia that was responsible for nearly 20,000 deaths nationwide in 2014.
“Having adequate and accurate information is the first step in making good decisions,” Morrisey said. “We can take our communities back by empowering West Virginians to be an active part of the solution.”
The public service announcements will appear in print, radio and social media.
The initiative will cover several key points, such as the fact many patients don’t realize they have been prescribed an opioid painkiller. It also touches those who don’t understand the risk involved with opioid pain management, including the potential of addiction, overdose and death.
The public service announcements encourage patients to seek alternative pain therapy and ask their prescriber three questions – “Am I being prescribed opioids?” “Is there an alternative treatment?” “If not, is there a lower effective dosage?”
This week’s announcement comes on the heels of the Attorney General’s draft best practices initiative, which aims to eradicate prescription drug abuse by better equipping the state’s prescribers and dispensers.
The hope is that these efforts and others will reduce opioid use in West Virginia by 25 percent.
The public service announcement initiative is a cooperative effort between the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office and the West Virginia Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine.