Dr. Michael Brumage, former executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, has been named director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy.
Brumage replaces director Jim Johnson who retired from the position in January. In a press release, Governor Jim Justice said he’s confident that Brumage is the right person to tackle West Virginia’s opioid crisis.
The Department of Health and Human Resources has been directed by Justice to make the opioid crisis the state’s number one health priority.
According to the DHHR, A West Virginian dies from an opioid overdose every ten hours.
Brumage said he plans on connecting people, systems and communities to the resources they need.
In a press conference, though, Justices said the state doesn’t have enough money to combat the issue in all 55 counties at once. Rather they’re going to start by directing money at one county in the north and one at the south.
“And then let that in itself expand to other counties throughout our state while at the same time we're doing everything we possibly can to protect all of our counties in our state and do all the good we can possibly do,” Justice said.
The Office of Drug Control Policy was created last year during the legislative session.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.