West Virginia has faced the brunt of the opioid epidemic with 261 tri-county overdoses in 2016, and the highest overdose rate in the nation. You may wonder why this particular state was struggling the most with opioid addiction and overdose problems. Recently, a congressional committee found that drug companies have shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies to a town in West Virginia with 2,900 people over the past ten years. The pharmacies are a mere four blocks apart.
Williamson in Mingo County received the mass amounts of hydrocodone and oxycodone, far exceeding the amount of people living there and the shipments were never flagged or scrutinized by the drug companies. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is looking at this shipment and past ones to see how many pills were coming in to West Virginia over the past decade. They’re also looking for any correlation to how drug companies may have played a role in the current opioid epidemic.