Law enforcement officials hope for database to prevent pill epid - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Law enforcement officials hope for database to prevent pill epidemic

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Members of area law enforcement agencies are coming together to prevent West Virginia's growing pill epidemic.

Law enforcement officers from Kanawha, Raleigh, and Greenbrier counties held a news conference Wednesday in Kanawha County to talk about a new idea. The West Virginia Trooper's Association wants to get rid of cash payments and use a national tracking database at pharmacies. The group plans to present the idea to the legislature.

The tracking system is already being used at 93% of pharmacies nationwide. The system will send a red flag when too much of one drug is being prescribed. The system also tracks when a prescription is filled, so people do not go to multiple pharmacies, trying to get the same prescription filled.

Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner says a vast majority of the state's prescription drug pill comes after a prescription is written.

"In Southern West Virginia, we lost 360 people to drug abuse last year. What that means... is we're losing a person a day to prescription drug abuse," said Steve Tanner, Raleigh County Sheriff.

Law enforcement officers also say it is crucial to get surrounding states involved, so people do not travel across state lines to get their fix.