CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Painkillers aren't the only dangerous prescription drugs taking the Mountain State by storm.
In 2010, the state had more antibiotic drug prescriptions than people — 1,177 for every 1,000 residents — according to a new report from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Only Kentucky ranked higher in per-capita antibiotic use, with 1,196 prescriptions per 1,000 people in 2010, according to the report. Nationally, there were about 801 antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 people that year.
Health officials say the overuse of antibiotics is helping breed stronger, more resilient bugs that cannot be treated using conventional medicines.
Researchers found urinary tract infections, the second-most common type of infection in the United States, are becoming more difficult to treat because antibiotics previously used to treat UTIs are losing their effectiveness.
"Without proper antibiotic treatment, UTIs can turn into bloodstream infections, which are much more serious and can be life-threatening," Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the CDDEP's "Extending the Cure" program, said in a statement.
"There are few new antibiotics to replace the ones that are becoming less effective. New drug development needs to target the types of drug-resistant bacteria that cause these infections," he said.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said many of the antibiotic prescriptions filled in the state are not necessary.