The symposium will feature a select group of experts examining a range of topics including policy, liability, and sentencing guidelines related to prescription drug abuse in West Virginia and beyond. Senator Joseph Manchin (D-W.Va.) is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.
“What we’re trying to do is take a look at what the law is doing well and what it’s not doing well so we can start a discussion about who we need to work with and what we need to do to handle it better,” said Imad Matini, editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies prescription drug abuse as a national epidemic. According to the CDC, 1 in 20 people age 12 or older in the United States have used prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons.
West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources says deaths from prescription drug overdoses in the state rose 218% between 2002 and 2010, from 291 to 927.
Manchin helped introduce the Safe Prescribing Act of 2013, a piece of federal legislation that aims to reclassify drugs containing hydrocodone in an attempt to restrict access to certain drugs and ultimately combat and prevent prescription drug abuse. The bill is currently in committee, but the Federal Drug Administration heeded Manchin and the bill’s other sponsors when it recommended the reclassification of hydrocodone to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in October 2013.
Featured speakers at the West Virginia Law Review symposium will be Michael Barnes, Executive Director for the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD); Richard C. Ausness, Jr., professor of law at the University of Kentucky; Robert McKinney, Counsel to the West Virginia Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts; and Adam Allen, Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Florida.
According to Matini, the overarching goal of the symposium is to shed light on how the law can have an impact on prescription drug abuse.
“Ultimately, I think the law can serve as a vehicle for change in this,” he said.
About the West Virginia Law Review
Founded in 1894, the West Virginia Law Review is the fourth oldest law review in the United States. It is a professional, student-governed legal journal that publishes articles of interest to legal scholars, students, legislators, and members of the practicing Bar. The West Virginia Law Review is published three times a year by a student editorial board at the WVU College of Law.