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Antibiotics, like painkillers, are prescribed freely in West Virginia

EDITORIAL

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 01:11

Abuse of prescription painkillers is one of the biggest issues plaguing West Virginia residents and the problem is due in large part to the convenience and accessibility of getting a prescription filled in West Virginia. While regulations are being placed on doctors who prescribe pain medications and pharmacists who fill such prescriptions, numbers are still staggering.

Like painkillers, antibiotics too are prescribed in high volume in the Mountain State. A study issued Tuesday by the Center for Disease Dynamics Economics and Policy reported that West Virginia ranks second in the nation for the number of prescriptions filled. The mountain state also saw the smallest decrease in prescriptions of any state in the past 11 years, with a mere one percent drop.

As more and more antibiotics are prescribed, the drugs lose their effectiveness. Often the purpose of antibiotics is misunderstood. People mistakenly seek out antibiotics to treat viral infections such as the flu or the common cold, while antibiotics are intended to cure bacterial infections. To promote awareness of antibiotics and how they should be used, the Centers for Disease Control has been declared this week as the “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.”

In 2010, a startling 1,178 prescriptions for antibiotics were filled for every 1,000 West Virginians. West Virginia’s figures were just shy of neighboring Kentucky who leads the nation with 1,197 antibiotic prescriptions for every 1,000 residents.

 

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