April 27, 2011

Manchin Unveils 3-Point Plan to Combat Substance Abuse

New legislation would ban bath salts and synthetic drugs, fight prescription drug abuse by putting an end to “pill mills”

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today took “Commonsense Solutions” Week to Huntington, where he announced a three-point plan to fight drug abuse nationwide. Senator Manchin was joined at the announcement by community officials, physicians and members of law enforcement, who stressed the immediate need for commonsense federal measures to combat drug abuse in West Virginia and the nation.

West Virginia has one of the nation’s highest rates of drug overdose deaths, and today Senator Manchin pledged his support for legislation that would put a federal ban on deadly synthetic drugs being marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food” and add them to the list of controlled substances. He also announced that he will introduce new legislation in the Senate to crack down on so-called “pill mills,” the places people can go to get powerful prescription drugs that they do not use for medical reasons. 

“Every day, our hospitals deal with the effects of drug overdose. Each day, families are being destroyed by prescription drug abuse and other synthetic drugs,” Senator Manchin said at today’s event at Cabell Huntington Hospital. “No one should be able to exploit loopholes or weaknesses in the law to manufacture dangerous and illicit drugs. The commonsense measures I am announcing today would strengthen our laws and better protect our families and children from the dangers of drug abuse.”

Colonel Jay Smithers, Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, said the legislation would give law enforcement officers needed tools to crack down on rampant drug abuse. 

“This legislation will send a crystal clear message that the United States Congress will do everything possible to empower law enforcement agencies at all levels to continue the fight against the availability and sale of illegal and illicit drugs and narcotics across our nation,” Col. Smithers said. “I applaud West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin for leading the charge on the national level for this important issue facing our communities across the United States and here in West Virginia. Senator Manchin, along with other state and local lawmakers, has recognized the dangers these products present to our communities - many of which are already riddled with drug abuse problems - and has worked diligently with government leaders and law enforcement agencies across the nation and right here at home to curb this avenue of drug abuse before it worsens.”

Dr. Kevin Yingling, who is both a pharmacist and Chairman of Internal Medicine at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, spoke of how communities are plagued by the abuse of synthetic chemicals and prescription drugs - which are abused despite their legitimate uses. 

“We applaud Senator Manchin's action to support this bill. When passed, this bill will help remove dangerous chemicals of abuse and addiction from our society,” Dr. Yingling said. “Senator Manchin, thank you for this courageous action to protect the citizens of West Virginia.”

Senator Manchin will continue his focus on commonsense solutions at 4 p.m. today, when he visits a classroom at Marshall University. 

A public schedule for the remainder of the week follows.

Background information on Senator Manchin’s 3-point plan to combat drug abuse is attached.



Introduction of national drug abuse prevention legislation 

When: 10:30 a.m. 

Where: Cabell Huntington Hospital, 1340 Hal Greer Boulevard, Huntington 

What: Senator Manchin will introduce legislation to prevent substance abuse and keep West Virginia youth safe.  

Visit to Marshall University 

When: 4 p.m. 

Where: Marshall University, Smith Hall (1 John Marshall Drive), Room 333, Huntington 

What: Senator Manchin speaks with students at Marshall University


THURSDAY, April 28

2011 West Virginia Leadership Conference 

When: 9:30 a.m.  

Where: Waterfront Place Hotel, 2 Waterfront Place, Morgantown 

What: Senator Manchin will address the 2011 West Virginia Leadership Conference and unveil new jobs legislation. 

2011 IBEW Fourth District Progress Meeting 

When: 11 a.m.  

Where: Lakeview Golf Resort, One Lakeview Drive, Morgantown

What: Senator Manchin will address the 2011 IBEW Fourth District Progress Meeting and discuss his jobs legislation. 

Visit IBM and Speak with Staff 

When: 2 p.m.   

Where: IBM Hilltop Office Complex, Building 200 (Allegany Ballistics Laboratory), Cafeteria, 310 State Route 956, north of Keyser

What: Senator Manchin will visit IBM, speak with staff and hold a media event to discuss jobs in the area. 


FRIDAY, April 29 

Coffee and Common Sense 

When: 9 a.m.   

Where: Becky’s Café, Route 26 Tunnelton Street, Kingwood 

What: Senator Manchin will host “Coffee and Common Sense” with local residents. 


SATURDAY, April 30

Coffee and Common Sense 

When: 9:30 a.m.   

Where: Jerry’s Restaurant, 242 Barrett Street, Grafton  

What: Senator Manchin will host “Coffee and Common Sense” with local residents.