The term “Hillbilly Heroin” was coined in reference to the proclivity of the use of Oxycontin in the state of West Virginia – primarily in the Appalachian Mountains.
Prescription drug abuse is a problem that affects every part of the region, and it could soon be getting worse.
It’s Going to get Worse!
Hydrocodone is the second most abused medication. Now, drug companies are working to create a pill that would be 10 times more powerful than what is on the market now.
That’s causing some serious concerns with law enforcement, and families who know firsthand how devastating prescription pill abuse can be.
The number of overdose deaths in West Virginia increased from 20 in 2001 to 51 in 2008. They hit a high of 76 in 2006.
Data for the last few years is still incomplete, but police expect the numbers to be way up. For example: State Police in Boone County investigated three overdose deaths in 2009, 11 in 2010, and 19 in 2011.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for these types of medications. The problem isn't in the appropriate use. The problem is in the abuse.
As more drugs hit pharmacy shelves, there needs to be a change in culture. That means more education for patients and children.
Drug education classes are an important place to begin. West Virginia and the rest of the nation must find a way to deal with the prescription drug abuse problem!