New technology to fight opioid abuse

Published: Jul. 29, 2016 at 6:48 PM EDT
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Pharmacies already calculate the amount of prescription opioids a patient picks up after doctor visits.

New technology, called a Morphine Equivalency Calculator, will allow them to get information on the frequency of those prescriptions with a click of a button.

It's technology soon to be available to West Virginia physicians and pharmacies.

"It brings together the Board of Pharmacy's good work in this area, to reduce doctor-shopping, with our Best Practices initiative," says Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. "Those guidelines are designed to dramatically reduce opioid use by at least 25%."

It tracks an individuals opioid prescriptions to determine whether any new prescribed drugs would lead to abuse. It's not to catch an abuser, but to save a life.

"They just want to get an overall look at how much they're taking in a day," says Carla Bailey, a pharmacist with Cox Family Pharmacy in Parkersburg. "They're going to use what's called morphine milligram equivalents, and that's going to give them a score. So instead of apples and oranges, in medicines, it's going to give you something to look at in apples."

West Virginia has led the nation in drug overdose deaths. The system is another means to prevent that statistic from happening.