© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WVPB News
This ongoing series takes in-depth look at the heroin epidemic spreading across West Virginia. From the story of the addict who could no longer get prescription narcotics on the street, the emergency room physician who cares for overdose patients, and the lawmakers working to reverse the trend--these are the voices and stories of West Virginians impacted by heroin.Has heroin affected you or someone you know? Share your story here.

The Front Porch: Who's to Blame for Appalachia's Drug Addiction?

ashley_and_her_family.jpg
Roxy Todd
/
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has the nation's worst rate of drug overdose deaths. It started with prescription painkillers, and now is increasingly fueled by heroin.

On this week's "The Front Porch," we debate what's causing the epidemic, and what might actually work in curbing it.

We speak with Ashley, a recovering heroin addict about why she began using, how she got clean, and the struggles to remain sober for her three kids.

We also ask whether society is ready to treat addiction as a health issue, or whether we are still quick to make moral judgments about people with drug addictions.

Finally, we debate what's at fault:

- An unwillingness by state and federal officials to pay for treatment, even if it is less expensive and more effective than jailing addicts

- Prescription drug companies, for marketing painkillers heavily in the region (West Virginia consumes more prescription painkillers per capita than any other state)

- Workers Comp, for only paying for cheaper drugs and not expensive physical therapy for injured workers

- Drug dealers, who profit from peddling misery

- People who give drugs to people who then overdose (and should they be charged with felony murder?)

- People with addiction (what about personal responsibility?)

- A general sense of hopelessness in our region that leads to more drug abuse

Click here to see West Virginia Public Broadcasting's series on heroin.

Subscribe to "The Front Porch" podcast on iTunes or however you listen to podcasts.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available above.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you'd like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @ wvpublic.org


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.