Opioid Epidemic

pills
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A federal judge has ruled that state and local governments cannot publicize federal government data about where prescription opioids were distributed — a blow to news organizations seeking to report more deeply on the nation's overdose and addiction crisis.

Health Official: Regional Overdose Death Rates Up, But Flattening

Jul 27, 2018
Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
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Health officials in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia say the number of overdose deaths continued to rise in 2017. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Aaron Payne reports that one public health official says, however, there is cause for optimism.

Angie Gray, Nurse Director for the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department, shows a box of sealed, sterile syringes given to participants in her harm reduction program.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Across West Virginia, people are fighting back against the opioid epidemic and pushing the message of recovery. Some of these people run harm reduction clinics – which sometimes include needle exchanges. We meet a nurse in the Eastern Panhandle who runs one of these programs.

West Virginia University

Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. 

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear a special report from The Uncertain Hour, a podcast from American Public Media's Marketplace. Their investigation, which first aired in December, centered on a lesser-known but significant aspect of the opioid crisis: how Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin, its highly addictive pain medication.

Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
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County EMS records show Cabell County's overdose totals fell by 41 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared with the same period a year ago.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the use of naloxone — the drug first responders use to reverse an opioid-induced overdose — decreased by 49 percent in the West Virginia county compared to the first half of 2017.

Screenshot from the "Recovery Boys" trailer.
Elaine McMillion Sheldon / Netflix

Academy Award-nominated director Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s newest film “Recovery Boys” is now available on Netflix. The film is a companion to Sheldon’s first film “Heroin(e).”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, detoxing from drugs is a subject more people than ever throughout the Ohio Valley have experience with… Some people are turning to dietary supplements to help ease that pain. This story and more on this West Virginia Morning.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Renovations have started on a building that will become apartments for women undergoing treatment for substance abuse in West Virginia.

Marshall University said in a news release Monday its health provider group, Marshall Health, and the Huntington City Mission have begun construction on the 15,000-square-foot building next to the mission.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from a man who knows what it’s like to struggle and recover from drugs and alcohol. This story and more coming up on this West Virginia Morning.

On Thursday, the White House unveiled the first act in its effort to fight the opioid epidemic by harnessing the power of digital media and cable TV.  

Lisa Melcher's daughter Christina pictured here with her two children, Anthony and Jasmine. Christina died of a heroin overdose in May 2017. Lisa says Christina is the heart of the Hope Dealer Project and came up with the name.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of people fighting the opioid epidemic in Berkeley County is garnering national attention (The New Yorker, CBS). In the Hope Dealer Project, three women work together to drive people struggling with addiction to inpatient detox or rehabilitation centers – pushing the message that recovery is possible.

West Virginia University

 

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced today that efforts are underway to distribute naloxone to emergency first responders statewide.

All first responders will carry the opioid overdose reversal drug and will be trained on how to  reduce overdose deaths in West Virginia. The DHHR has purchased a $1 million supply of naloxone, about 34,000 doses.

 

The Associated Press

If you've been paying attention, you know by now that Appalachia is in the middle of an opioid addiction crisis. You may have seen suffering with substance abuse disorders in your own neighborhood.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia chef-journalist Mike Costello appeared on CNN’s Parts Unknown. Costello talks about that experience, plus what he’s working on for 100 Days in Appalachia. Also, in this episode, we hear about a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A infections in the Ohio Valley  linked to the region's addiction crisis.

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.

We bring you a special episode of The Legislature Today. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Executive Producer Suzanne Higgins sits down with Elaine McMillion Sheldon, producer and director of the Oscar nominated documentary film Heroin(e), Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader, and Family Court and former-longtime Drug Court Judge Patricia Keller.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump addressed the opioid crisis affecting the Ohio Valley region in his first State of the Union address. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Aaron Payne reports that while Trump mentioned expanding addiction treatment, he and his administration are emphasizing a law-and-order approach to the crisis in the second year of his presidency.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, reporter Dave Mistich chats with the director of academy award nominated film, Heroin(e). We also hear a story about medical marijuana dispensaries opening in Pennsylvania and the economic impact that could bring.

oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. The opioid epidemic is killing our friends and neighbors.

Sandy Hamilton, Executive Director of the Berkeley County Development Authority.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Berkeley County is one of the fastest growing counties in West Virginia. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2013 and 2016, the population grew by 4,300 people. It’s also the second most-populated county in the state.

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.

Steve Williams
City of Huntington, W.Va.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams says he's ending his run for the U.S. House in West Virginia's 3rd District.

Williams tells the Huntington Herald-Dispatch there are problems in the city that need his attention, including a drug epidemic and growing violence.

On The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom talks with House Finance Committee Chairman Delegate Eric Nelson and Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns on the current budget situation in West Virginia – where we are now and where we’re headed.

Perry Bennett / Legislative Photography

Gov. Justice’s second State of the State made full use of several props, two whiteboards and his entire girls’ basketball team.

Justice also laid out what he thought was really important in his speech. Here are two themes I heard: finally turning the corner on the opioid epidemic, and helping young people find technical and vocational careers.

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.

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Throughout the Ohio Valley and West Virginia, thousands of children are in foster care -- and the opioid epidemic is sending thousands more to join them. In fact, in just the past year, West Virginia's foster care system alone saw an increase of 1,000 children entering care.

In 2016, West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with the Holbens, a former-foster family in Kearneysville, Jefferson County, to shed light on the struggles the opioid epidemic brings on foster care. We now check back in with that family and explore what lies ahead in combating this crisis.

Be sure to tune in for more on this subject during our nightly television program, The Legislature Today beginning January 11, 2018.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

 


The start of the 2018 state Legislative session is only one month away. Lawmakers in the Eastern Panhandle met in Martinsburg for a Legislative Outlook Breakfast hosted by the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce to discuss several issues they hope to tackle at the statehouse this year.

 

One focus is creating more ways to combat West Virginia’s opioid epidemic -- particularly how the crisis affects those in the state’s foster care system.

Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
U.S. Air Force

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.

Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Two more West Virginia communities have joined others around the state in suing drug companies over the opioid epidemic.

Mary Woolley, Research America, Research!America, Shepherd University
Shepherd University

Shepherd University hosted an event Monday exploring the possibility of more efficient ways for universities, industry, government, and scientific researchers to work together to combat the opioid epidemic. And a recent public opinion survey indicates West Virginians want to see the state be a leader on this issue.