Booth Goodwin discusses drug prescription abuse in the Mountain - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

US Attorney Booth Goodwin discusses drug prescription abuse in the Mountain State

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When it comes to the issue of moving the Mountain State forward, one prevailing problem needs to be addressed and solutions found.

Booth Goodwin, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of W.Va., said the issue that requires discussion and solutions affects young people, older people and the economy of the Mountain State in general.

At a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce breakfast Feb. 18, Goodwin said addressing West Virginia's drug problem, particular prescription drug abuse and the heroin epidemic, is vital in saving the next generation from repeating the mistakes of the past.

According to Goodwin, addressing both the supply and demand is of equal importance.

"We need to reduce the supply of prescription drugs," he said. "We also have to attack demand, not just supply."

Prosecuting doctors and physicians who have knowingly and intentionally over-prescribed medication is another step in curtailing the drug epidemic, Goodwin said.

Another issue the Mountain State faces is individuals failing to pass a drug test required by employers.

"People can't pass a drug test at work," Goodwin said.

In order to assist both the employer and employee in that situation, Goodwin said providing channels of help and venues of therapeutic recovery is essential.

"(That is) a key point of intervention," he said. "Help is out there and employers need that information."

Goodwin also said prescription drug abuse and the economy are all interwoven in some way.

How does the Mountain State work to solve the problem?

It's all about coming together, which West Virginians are good at, Goodwin said.

When that happens, "people come back stronger and with more resolve."

The most important tool, however, is education.

"Education is the most potent tool we have about this issue," Goodwin said.

According to Goodwin, going into schools, educating students and keeping kids from going down the road of drug abuse is the best formula for success.

"You would be amazed at the difference you can make in an hour at a school," he said.

Also having a positive affects are the drug courts, Goodwin said, which focus on rehabilitation rather than looking at incarceration as the first option.

Continually talking about the drug abuse and looking at is as an economic issue is important in continuing to move the Mountain State forward, Goodwin said.

"People are wanting to be a part of the solution," he said. "We need to talk about it more and need more resources."

While West Virginia has made progress, Goodwin said the Mountain State still has a long way to go.