Shutting Down W.Va. Pill Mills

We are told often that law enforcement cannot end the substance abuse crisis in West Virginia. That is true enough. Education and addiction treatment need to be part of the solution.

But there is plenty of work for police and prosecutors, too.

Just last week, the authorities shut down a clinic in Raleigh County, alleging the doctor was operating a pill mill — an operation where opioid painkillers were dispensed without regard to patients’ needs or the potential for them to become addicted.

According to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office, a doctor operating in a shopping mall in Beckley was prescribing narcotics to more than 50 percent of the patients he treated. After he refused to comply with state officials’ demand that he cease operations, Morrisey’s office and the Department of Health and Human Resources had to get a court order to shut the doctor’s clinic down.

We have known for years that claims opioid painkillers were minimally addictive were not true. Police and other authorities have been shutting down pill mills for years.

Yet, if state officials are right, the Beckley operation stayed in business.

Obviously, a statewide sweep of health care businesses is needed to find other pill mills and put them out of business. There is simply no excuse for any of them to keep their doors open.