September 27, 2011

Manchin, West Virginia Congressional Delegation Call for Federal Action to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

Manchin met with White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske Sept. 20 to emphasize severity of substance abuse problem in West Va.

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today said that fighting drug abuse in West Virginia and across the nation remains a top priority, and affirmed his support for that goal along with the West Virginia Congressional delegation in a letter sent to White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director R. Gil Kerlikowske on the need to continue efforts to combat prescription drug abuse in West Virginia. 

Senator Manchin met with Director Kerlikowske on Sept. 20 to discuss advancing ways the federal government can help law enforcement, businesses and communities fight West Virginia’s substance abuse epidemic. He stressed the severity of the problem in West Virginia, where drug abuse is having a very serious impact on the workforce. 

“In counties across West Virginia, drug abuse is tearing our families apart, destroying our workforce, and weakening our economy. The problem has become a top concern for small businesses, law enforcement, educators and communities. We’ve got to get a handle on this growing epidemic,” Senator Manchin said. “To be successful, we will all have to work together – Democrats and Republicans, state and federal leaders – to devise a strategy that will prevent drug abuse, help treat those who need it, and ultimately eliminate this terrible problem.” 

One of Senator Manchin’s top priorities is eliminating drug abuse in West Virginia and the nation. In April, Senator Manchin announced a three-point plan to combat drug abuse, which included critical measures to ban bath salts and synthetic marijuana and increase penalties for running “pill mills.” The legislation to ban synthetic marijuana and the bill to ban bath salts have both passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and are awaiting action by the full Senate. Senator Manchin will continue to actively solicit the input of law enforcement officers, community leaders and residents around West Virginia to work on a comprehensive effort that will prevent and eliminate drug abuse in the state.

The letter, which was sent by the entire Congressional delegation, provides recommendations to the ONDCP as it works on its 2012 National Drug Control Strategy.  West Virginia currently faces one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the country.  Director Kerlikowske has called prescription drug abuse the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and called for efforts to combat the epidemic in the Administration’s 2011 National Drug Control Strategy as well as in a separate Prescription Drug Abuse Plan.

Click here to view the delegation’s letter from September 27.