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RAHALL: LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING TO TACKLE PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE IN W.VA.
BECKLEY, W.Va. – In a continuing effort to advocate solutions to fight the prescription drug abuse crisis in southern West Virginia, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) announced Friday that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will provide training for West Virginia law enforcement professionals and prosecuting attorneys on prescription drug diversion, interdiction and investigative strategies.
“The hard work, dedication, and efforts of our law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys are the bedrock that keeps our communities strong. Their service and commitment in our pursuit of solutions for substance abuse in southern West Virginia is vitally important. We must do all we can to ensure they have the training and support to do what needs to be done – what must be done – if we are to wage a successful battle against substance abuse,” said Rahall, who is a senior member of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.
At the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in April, Rahall urged ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske to provide federal training resources to West Virginia to assist law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys with their efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute prescription drug trafficking and abuse. The first two drug diversion training classes provided through ONDCP were designed and held recently for the West Virginia State Police at no cost to the State of West Virginia. A third more intensive training session will be provided through ONDCP and take place in March 2013 at the West Virginia State Police Professional Development Center. Enrollment in this session will be free and available to any West Virginia law enforcement professional at the state, county or local level, as well as county prosecuting attorneys.
“We are greatly appreciative of Congressman Rahall for his assistance in making this important training possible in West Virginia to our members,” said Captain T.C. Bledsoe, Troop 8 Commander West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
“This may be the biggest challenge of our society, and the only way this destructive trend can be reversed is if everyone — I mean, everyone – gets involved. Our nation’s future – our children’s and grandchildren’s future – hangs in the balance,” said Rahall. “I’m so pleased that ONDCP is committed to helping our region fight this scourge, and grateful to Director Kerlikowske for his interest in helping the people of West Virginia.”
Rahall is a strong supporter of proper medical disposal as one prong of the four-part strategy he is pursuing on prescription drug abuse – a strategy that tracks the recommendations of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The four major areas of that strategy are: education, tracking and monitoring, proper medical disposal, and enforcement.
Aside from the human toll, the abuse of prescription drugs – now considered the greatest drug threat facing our nation – carries a heavy economic cost of some $72.5 billion annually. Rahall’s effort with the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse is focused on developing solutions on the federal front to attack this scourge in the short and long term.
Rahall has been active and vocal in promoting legislation that he introduced, H.R. 1925, the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, the House companion measure to the Senate bill authored by Senator Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), which would promote both physician and consumer education, as well as authorize federal funding to help states create and maintain prescription drug monitoring programs that all states can access. In April, a House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill, at which Rahall testified. Rahall also has participated in national and local summits on prescription drug abuse to bring together federal, state, and local officials to focus resources on the burgeoning problem in West Virginia.