April 11, 2012

Manchin Applauds Focus on Prescription Drug Abuse at National Summit

Thanks Rep. Rahall and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske for their dedicated work to reduce prescription drug abuse, pledges to work as a strong partner

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today applauded the work of experts and leaders from around the country who are gathered at the inaugural National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit, including Representative Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), and pledged his support to fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic in West Virginia and around the nation. 

“I applaud the efforts of Rep. Nick Rahall on the very important issue of drug abuse, and I want to thank him for his participation in the National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit,” Senator Manchin said. “There is not a community in West Virginia that has not been affected by drug abuse, either directly or indirectly, and each and every one of us should make eliminating this epidemic a very high priority. Drug abuse is devastating our families and our workforce as well as hurting our economy and our education system – we have to work together to get this rampant problem under control.

“Attacking drug abuse head-on is going to take all of our combined efforts, and that is why it is so important that the National Prescription Drug Abuse Summit is bringing leaders and experts together – including doctors, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, law enforcement, community groups, legislators and government agencies, teachers, and parents. We need more education, better prescription drug monitoring programs, stricter rules to make these substances harder to obtain for illegitimate purposes, increased penalties for those who illegally distribute drugs, stronger law enforcement efforts and more widely available treatment programs. In short, there is not one silver bullet that can solve this problem alone. Like most of our greatest and most important challenges, ending the crisis of drug abuse will take all of us working together.”

In October 2011, Senator Manchin held a roundtable with community leaders in Beckley to discuss the need to fight drug abuse so that employers can fill their open jobs and parents can provide for their families. Senator Manchin has fought for many legislative initiatives to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse in West Virginia and across the nation, including: 

  • The Pill Mill Crackdown Act: Senator Manchin has introduced S. 1760, the Pill Mill Crackdown Act, with Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). The bill would increase penalties for pill mill operators, put some of the seized assets from pill mills toward Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, and make drugs containing hydrocodone more difficult to obtain illegitimately.
  • Expanding High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA): The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program provides funds to local law enforcement agencies located in counties in drug-trafficking regions. There are 11 counties in West Virginia currently designated as HIDTAs, and Senator Manchin is working with regional authorities to get more areas accepted into the program. 
  • Funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Senator Manchin has supported funding for COPS programs to provide local police departments with federal grant money. The program helps to advance community policing in many areas where funding is needed to help combat drug abuse. 

  • Funding for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG): Senator Manchin supports funding for the Byrne JAG program, which provides state and local governments with critical resources necessary to support various law enforcement efforts and drug treatment initiatives. 
  • Support for Drug Free Communities: Senator Manchin has supported funding for Drug Free Communities, which provide grants to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent substance abuse in youth.
  • Support for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month: Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of S.Res.261, which designated October 2011 as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. The resolution passed the Senate on September 23, 2011.