Health & Science

cityofhuntington.com

More federal prosecutors will be used in a crackdown on gun and violent crime and drug trafficking in one West Virginia city. 

The number of prosecutors focusing on those cases in Huntington will be doubled immediately and tripled within weeks, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said Thursday. He didn't provide specific numbers.

needle exchange sign
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Local outcry has scuttled plans to bring a needle exchange program to a West Virginia town.

News outlets report that Kanawha County Communities That Care spokesman Scott Burton said at a Monday night public meeting in Rand that communities that don't want the harm reduction program won't get it.

Health, doctor, nurse, mask, breathing, health insurance
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Six more women will join a task force to seek a long-term funding solution to an insurance program for teachers and other public employees.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the latest appointments Monday after receiving complaints that his initial picks included only two women.

Jarek Tuszyński / Wikimedia Commons

National Park Service officials say the New River Gorge National River is one of the largest climbing areas in the eastern U.S. Officials are hosting an event to raise awareness about park climbing rules. 

The West Virginia Governor's STEM Institute is taking applications for this summer's program for seventh- and eighth-graders.

West Virginia Recorded 872 Overdoses in 2017

Mar 9, 2018
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West Virginia’s death toll from drug overdoses has improved slightly, with 872 deaths last year.

The state hit a grim record in 2016 of 887 fatal overdoses, or 52 per 100,000 residents, the highest drug-related death toll in the nation.

On The Legislature Today, thousands of teachers and state workers again showed-up at the Capitol to protest low salaries and rising health care costs, as their work stoppage entered a third school day – tomorrow will be the fourth. We bring you the latest on the work stoppage. Also, in this episode, we look at a variety of health-related legislation and chat with Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha and Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone.

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The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill to change how bail is set for certain misdemeanor cases.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Ten doctors have been charged with overprescribing pain pills from clinics in West Virginia and Virginia, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday. Two of those patients died.

Public Domain

Edward Brown and Jerry Helton are both struggling with black lung disease.
Adelina Lancianese, photos; Alexandra Kanik, illustration.

The central Appalachian coalfields are in the middle of an unprecedented epidemic of severe black lung disease. In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association federal researchers released the results of a study conducted at just three black lung clinics. The study confirmed 416 cases of the most severe form of black lung disease, Progressive Massive Fibrosis.

Jason Walker, one of the Cedar Creek residents who have accused Dynamic Energy of contamining their water, poses near a creek from which he draws water to flush his toliets.
Molly Born / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In May 2016, a jury found that a coal company owned by then-candidate for governor, Jim Justice, wasn’t responsible for contaminating the water wells of several Wyoming County residents. Still, an order requiring the firm to provide temporary fresh water stayed in place, and the water kept coming -- until recently, when it abruptly stopped. 

West Virginia House of Delegates, January 2018.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia's House has voted to let nursing aides give various prescription medications to patients at nursing homes.

Supporters of the bill, approved 55-44 on Tuesday, say the certified nurse aides would have to be trained every two years, work under the direction of a registered nurse, couldn't give opioids and other drugs listed as having high potential for abuse and could give injections only with pre-filled insulin.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

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.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia’s Commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health. Gupta chats with Lannom about DHHR’s Opioid Response Plan - an initiative to explore the most effective ways the state can combat the opioid crisis.

CDC / Dr. Erskine Palmer / wikimedia Commons

Health officials in West Virginia are reporting the first pediatric flu death of the current season.

Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department administrator Howard Gamble told media outlets his department was informed of the child's death Monday.

Trump Renews Opioid Emergency As Democrats Seek More Funding For Crisis

Jan 22, 2018
Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press file photo

The Trump administration has extended its public health emergency on the opioid crisis. The move came just days before the original declaration signed in October was set to expire.

Acting Health And Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan signed an order Friday to extend the public health emergency for another 90 days. In a post on the agency’s website Hargan cited the continued consequences of the opioid crisis.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, 2017 was the year of endless Affordable Care Act debates. This year could be the year we see the effects for the people who need health care the most. As part of the series “One Year, Under Trump,” Mary Meehan reports some Ohio Valley health officials are concerned that vulnerable patients could lose access to health care.

Demonstrators targeting Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Remember the American Health Care Act, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, or the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act? They were among the many Congressional proposals to end the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia Hospital Association official says the state's hospitals stand to lose up to $15 million toward treating low-income patients if federal cuts to a Medicaid program remain in place.

Kermit, WV
Chuck Roberts

As the opioid epidemic continues to kill people across the country, local governments are struggling to get a handle on the problem. More and more, states and municipalities are filing suit against pharmaceutical companies. That trend started right here, in the place that’s known as the “epicenter” of the opioid crisis. 

Survey Reveals Changing Attitudes about Opioids

Jan 19, 2018
Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

A new survey of likely West Virginia voters on the issues expected to come up during this year’s legislative session included some striking views on the state’s opioid epidemic.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump has helped put the national spotlight on the Ohio Valley’s opioid crisis. But his record of action on the issue is mixed. As part of the series, One Year, Under Trump, Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Aaron Payne reports that public health officials in the region say they need more funding to back up the president’s promises.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The number of West Virginians who have died of opioid-related drug overdoses has climbed drastically every year for the past five years. West Virginia lawmakers say getting a handle on the state’s opioid epidemic is one of their top legislative priorities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Kristin Phillips is one of two physical therapists in West Virginia specializing in women’s health. In the next episode of our occasional series, Windows into Health Care, health reporter Kara Lofton talks with Phillips about the main issues she sees in her practice. A warning to listeners, this interview includes detailed descriptions of women’s health issues and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors
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Updated Friday January 12 at 4:18 p.m.

State health officials are proposing a multifaceted plan for confronting the drug crisis killing hundreds of West Virginians each year, one that would require action by everyone from lawmakers to doctors to judges to emergency responders to the general public.

Marcin Mincer / Wikimedia Commons

Ford is telling owners of about 2,900 Ranger small pickup trucks not to drive them after finding out that an exploding Takata air bag inflator killed a Ranger driver in West Virginia.

The death occurred July 1 in West Virginia, and Ford said it found out about it in December. After some investigation, the company determined that the truck's inflator was made on the same day as one that exploded and killed a South Carolina man driving a Ranger in 2016. So the company issued the urgent new recall for Rangers with inflators made on the same day.

Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

A federal judge on Tuesday likened the nation's opioid epidemic to the deadly 1918 flu pandemic while noting the drug crisis is "100 percent manmade."

Judge Dan Polster urged participants on all sides of lawsuits against drugmakers and distributors to work toward a common goal of reducing overdose deaths. He said the issue has come to courts because "other branches of government have punted" it.

Doctor Patient Health Care Coverage
Fæ / wikimedia commons

Monongalia County has begun construction on a new healthcare facility in Morgantown.

The new, two-story, 16,000 square-feet building will house physician clinics and an emergency medical services substation.

Many of us make New Year's resolutions. Few of us realize them. Maybe it would help to reframe how we handle our resolutions by thinking of them as goals instead.

What health goals will you reach for in 2018? And which, if any, will you discuss with your doctor?

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