The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Thursday steps for an opioid response plan to combat the opioid epidemic. DHHR is asking West Virginians to help develop the plan through public comment and recommendations over the next 15 days.
DHHR said in a news release, the opioid response plan will be delivered to Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature by mid-January.
Until then, however, DHHR’s new Office of Drug Control Policy has opened up a comment period to West Virginians, and is looking for suggestions on the best ways to address the opioid crisis.
The Office will also look to partnerships with regional and national experts as the plan is developed – coordinating with a panel of public health experts from West Virginia University, Marshall University and Johns Hopkins University.
The expert panel will include:
Dr. Sean Allen, Assistant Scientist in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Allen has advanced training in geospatial and longitudinal data analyses. He formerly served as a senior policy advisor in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Dr. Jeffrey Coben, Dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health and Associate Vice President of Health Affairs. He has achieved international recognition for his accomplishments in the field of injury prevention and control.
Dr. Shannon Frattaroli, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the lead authors of America’s Opioid Epidemic: From Evidence to Impact, a report released by Johns Hopkins University and the Clinton Foundation.
Jim Johnson, Director of the DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy. He has 29 years of law enforcement experience and has served as both a police chief and director of the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in Huntington.
Dr. Sean Loudin, Associate Professor at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. He specializes in neonatal-perinatal medicine with research and clinical interests that have focused on neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Participation of the Johns Hopkins University faculty is made possible with support from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.
A public meeting will be held following the conclusion of the public comment period to include treatment providers, first responders, law enforcement, and several others.
A release of the draft plan for public comment is expected the first week of January.