Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
FILE — President Barack Obama announces a renewable energy plan Friday, April 3, 2015, at a solar field at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden Utah. Obama says prescription drug abuse is exacting a terrible toll across the country and causing pain for millions of families.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Barack Obama says prescription drug abuse is exacting a terrible toll across the country and causing pain for millions of families.

Obama was in West Virginia on Wednesday to highlight the problem. He announced new steps to help improve doctor training and ease access to drug treatment.

He says sales of powerful prescription pain medications have skyrocketed by 300 percent since 1999.

And in 2012 alone, doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for these highly addictive drugs. Obama says that was more than enough to give a bottle of pills to every American adult.

But he says the federal government alone can't solve the problem.

West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S., more than twice the national average.