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West Virginia Town with a population of fewer than 3,000 people received 20.8 million painkillers over the past decade

February 1, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
West Virginia Town with a population of fewer than 3,000 people received 20.8 million painkillers over the past decade

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A small town in West Virginia town has been flooded with prescription narcotics over the last ten years, a congressional committee has found.

Between 2006 and 2016, drug wholesalers Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith transported 20.8 million prescription narcotics to Williamson, a town of 2,900 residents, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

That’s roughly 7,172 pills per resident, almost enough for every individual to take two painkillers a day within that period.

“These numbers are outrageous, we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was unleashed across West Virginia,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. said in a joint statement.

The companies sent 10.2 million hydrocodone pills and 10.6 million oxycodone pills to only two pharmacies.

The nearby town of Kermit didn’t manage much better, as it too was overwhelmed with narcotics.

In 2008, Miami-Luken sent enough pills that every man, woman, and children could consume 5,624 pills over the course of a year.

Additionally, West Virginia had recorded the highest amount of fatal overdoses, with more than 880 people dying in 2016.

Mingo County, which surrounds both Williamson and Kermit, has the fourth highest prescription opioid overdose death rate of any county in the U.S.

As policymakers necessitate answers from Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith as to why they didn’t notice such suspiciously large orders, locals are still trying to determine how to respond to those who become addicted to drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

The Housing Authority of Mingo County had bought the Sycamore Inn in Williamson to convert it into Serenity Point, a rehab center, only to be met with local resistance.

“In the event of doing nothing, we just continue to get worse,” Belinda Harness, executive director of the Mingo Housing Authority, said to the Williamson Daily News.

Williamson Mayor Charlie Hatfield opposed the project and had suggested an order that would prevent any further facilities from opening in the town.

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