Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:39PM - 580 Views

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Chad Abshire

Staff Writer

BECKLEY — In an effort to advocate more solutions to fight prescription drug abuse in southern West Virginia, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) recently announced that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) would provide training for West Virginia law enforcement professionals and prosecuting attorneys on prescription drug diversion, interdiction and investigative strategies.

“The hard work, dedication, and efforts of our law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys are the bedrock that keeps our communities strong,” Rahall, a senior member of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, said. “Their service and commitment in our pursuit of solutions for substance abuse in southern West Virginia is vitally important. We must do all we can to ensure they have the training and support to do what needs to be done – what must be done – if we are to wage a successful battle against substance abuse.”

At the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in April, Rahall urged ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske to provide federal training resources to West Virginia to assist law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys with their efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute prescription drug trafficking and abuse.

The first two drug diversion training classes provided through ONDCP were designed and held recently for the West Virginia State Police at no cost to the State of West Virginia. A third more intensive training session will be provided through ONDCP and take place in March 2013 at the West Virginia State Police Professional Development Center.

“We are greatly appreciative of Congressman Rahall for his assistance in making this important training possible in West Virginia to our members,” said Captain T.C. Bledsoe, Troop 8 Commander West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

Aside from the human toll, the abuse of prescription drugs carries a heavy economic cost of some $72.5 billion annually, a release from Rahall’s office claimed.

“This may be the biggest challenge of our society, and the only way this destructive trend can be reversed is if everyone — I mean, everyone – gets involved. Our nation’s future – our children’s and grandchildren’s future – hangs in the balance,” Rahall said. “I’m so pleased that ONDCP is committed to helping our region fight this scourge, and grateful to Director Kerlikowske for his interest in helping the people of West Virginia.”

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