Overdoses in the mountain state on the rise, what can be done? - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Overdoses in the mountain state on the rise, what can be done?

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PRINCETON -

Death caused by over-dosing on prescription pills has increased by 400% in the last 11 years. That's according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The state with the HIGHEST NUMBER of overdoses is West Virginia. One organization in Mercer County is working to reduce these numbers.

Prescription painkillers create a feeling of euphoria, cause sedation and slow down breathing. Someone who is abusing the meds will take larger dose. That causes breathing to slow down so much that breathing could stop, killing you.  Overdosing is on the rise and West Virginia is number one in the nation for number of over doses.

"One of the things that we have realized is that the statistics here in West Virginia especially quite dire and we know the problems exist but thankful there are a lot of good people out there working on the problem," Greg Puckett, Community Connections Director. 

One of those organizations working to prevent substance abuse in Mercer County is community connections. Greg Puckett is the director of the organization and said they use education to help prevention.

"Although we know that the over dose rates are there if we do more education and we get out there and try to be very proactive we think we can bring those rates down in hopefully a short amount of time," Puckett said.

Community Connections has worked with doctors, pharmacists and both local and state government officials to crack down on this problem. But according to Puckett there is a major need for more treatment facilities.

Puckett said finding addicts' treatment is critical to help decrease the shocking number of overdose deaths in the mountain state.