In Virginia, 4.6 percent of residents—about 380,000 people—are estimated to have abused opioids last year, Shefali Luthra reports for Kaiser Health News. Between January 2015 and March 2016, the state medical examiner's office recorded almost 600 deaths from prescription -opioid overdoses.
Giles County family physician Robert Devereaux said "the nearest physician who can prescribe suboxone is 30 miles away," Luthra writes. "That's an immense distance for patients of limited means, who may not be able to afford gas or may not even have a car. But given that Devereaux sees between 25 and 30 patients a day, many with multiple chronic illnesses, handling the medication regimen required to treat drug addiction is a responsibility he's not sure he could add."
Carillon, which runs the Carillon Giles Community Hospital in Giles County, "is pushing its doctors in rural counties to get licensed to prescribe suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction," Luthra writes. "Medical residents at the system's flagship hospital in Roanoke are required to get DEA certification, and the hospital is sending two specialists to its clinics to train interested providers."