West Virginia lawmakers advance opioid, overdose measures

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia lawmakers are advancing measures aimed at curbing the state's drug crisis largely following a blueprint drawn by health officials in January.

The House has scheduled further floor consideration Wednesday on limiting new painkiller prescriptions for patients to supplies for three, four or seven days, depending on who writes them.

That's intended to help prevent new addictions.

The Senate passed the bill last month.

On Tuesday, the House unanimously voted to require hospital emergency departments, as well as emergency responders, report all suspected or confirmed drug overdoses.

That bill, already Senate approved, would require all emergency responders to carry the antidote for opioid overdoses.

West Virginia in 2016 had a state record of 887 fatal overdoses - a rate of 52 per 100,000 residents - the highest in the nation.

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