WEST Virginia suffers the second-highest drug overdose rate in the nation, after New Mexico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Mountain State had 4,793 drug overdose deaths from 2001-2012, according to the state Medical Examiner's Office.
The top three drugs involved were alprazolam, diazepam and oxycodone. All are prescription medications. The first two are anti-depressants while the latter is a pain medication.
Abuse of prescription drugs reflects the state's status as the leader in prescriptions per capita, which reflects having the third-highest median age and leading the nation in percentage of people receiving disability checks.
To rein in abuse, the U.S. Attorney's Office has cracked down on doctors who knowingly aid and abet drug abuse.
Such criminal complaints are appropriate.
However, the state Attorney General's Office continues to pursue ill-advised lawsuits filed under former attorney general Darrell McGraw against drug companies, which if successful could make it more difficult for disabled and elderly people to obtain needed medications.
And now Jim Cagle, the outside attorney who is suing on the state's behalf, has convinced both the McDowell County Commission and the Boone County Commission to authorize lawsuits against local pharmacies.