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A West Virginia Board of Pharmacy committee has identified 176 patients who could be "doctor shopping" for prescription drugs. These patients have received pain medication prescriptions from at least 13 doctors over the past 12 months. The committee recently warned medical professionals across the state that their patients could be "doctor shoppers." More than 2,500 letters were sent to medical professionals urging them to check a multistate database to see whether their patients have obtained prescriptions from other medical professionals, according to the Charleston Gazette. Police are also investigating to see if there is a legitimate reason for the prescriptions.
West Virginia University has eliminated more than 100 positions as it addresses budget cuts. The Dominion Post reports that 68 vacant positions have been eliminated. Forty-three positions were eliminated when workers either retired or resigned. Another 13.5 positions were part of a reduction in the workforce. Several departments have been combined, restructured or eliminated. The university has seen about $20 million in budget cuts in the past couple of fiscal years.
The company that spilled chemicals into West Virginia's largest water supply in January will staff the site around the clock to prevent further spills during cleanup. After spilling stormwater into the Elk River twice last week, Freedom Industries told the Department of Environmental Protection it would keep contractors at its Charleston site 24 hours a day. Regulators said Thursday's spill sent a small amount of water into the river. A 50-minute overflow occurred Friday during a thunderstorm. Initial violations include allowing a discharge from an unpermitted outlet and not implementing an approved sump management plan, per state orders. In both spills, West Virginia American Water said it detected no traces of the chemical in treated and untreated water at its treatment plant. The state agency is reviewing Freedom's response plan.
Patriot Coal is relocating its West Virginia office in Charleston to Scott Depot in Putnam County. Patriot spokeswoman Janine Orf says the St. Louis-based coal company plans to make the switch in late summer or early fall. The Charleston office has about 100 employees.The company has 10 active mining complexes, with eight in West Virginia and two in western Kentucky. Patriot employs about 4,000 people across the whole company.
West Virginia University is launching the Center on Research and Violence in Morgantown. The school says the center will aim to learn more about violence and limit its effects. It will earn grants to work on government and nonprofit projects, host conferences with leading speakers on violence and interact with communities across West Virginia and the nation.
An anonymous tip helped deputies find a suspect accused of sexually assaulting a woman who was jogging on a popular trail in Fayette County Saturday evening. The woman told police she was jogging on the Rails to Trails exercise area in Oak HIll when a man attacked her from behind, dragged her into a wooded area, tied her up, and sexually assaulted her. There are reports he planned to return to kill her, but somehow she got free and ran to a nearby house for help. The anonymous tip led officers to the Briarwood Trailer Park, where 47-year old Thomas Gene Carter Jr. was arrested.
The situation is still being monitored after a stormwater collection trench overflowed Thursday evening and sent a "small but undetermined" amount of water into the Elk River, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. West Virginia American Water detected no traces of the chemical that spilled in January at its treatment plant Thursday night. The water treatment plant is 1.6 miles downstream from Freedom Industries. Freedom will start tearing down its tanks in Charleston by the end of the month, per state orders, and the DEP has warned that the process could stir up the black licorice chemical smell again.
A Los Angeles Dodgers fan from West Virginia has been jailed after allegedly trespassing and making threats at the Cincinnati ballpark he was banned from six years ago. Forty-year-old Troy Sexton of Hurricane was being held Thursday under $40,000 bond on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and obstructing official business. He was arrested Tuesday night at the Dodgers-Reds game, after being ordered to stay away from Great American Ball Park after his arrest in a melee when the Dodgers were in town in 2008. He also will face a felony count of burglary charging he trespassed intending to commit a crime. A police affidavit states that Sexton made threats that he wanted to "shatter lives" over the next couple of days. Court-appointed attorney Amy Williams says she is reviewing the case.
A semi pulling a trailer load of gravel south on Interstate 79 jackknifed in the median Wednesday night and spilled its load five miles south of Clendenin. The spill caused delays for several hours while crews picked up gravel. The driver of the truck was from New York, and told deputies he lost control on the wet road and was unable to regain control. He was issued a citation for Failure to Maintain Control.
There will be new licensing regulations for certain pain clinics in West Virginia starting next month. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says that beginning July 1, clinics that primarily treat patients for chronic pain must be licensed by Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification, as a way of combatting substance abuse and making sure all chronic pain management clinics conform to a common set of standards and meet minimum requirements. WCHS-TV reports that facilities meet the definition of a pain clinic if more than 50 percent of the patients during any one month period are treated for chronic pain for non-malignant conditions. The state will inspect the clinics each year and failure to comply could result in fines.