© 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
WVPB's continuing coverage of the opioid crisis affecting West Virginia.Deaths related to opioid abuse have more than doubled in the past decade as millions of prescriptions flooded the state. Treatment programs have been overwhelmed as families struggle to cope with the fallout of addiction. These are the stories of West Virginians impacted by the opioid epidemic, and the struggle to combat the crisis.Across Appalachia, Thousands of Children are Affected by Opioid Addiction: Who’s Helping Them?West Virginia Sees Increase in 'Family' Sex Trafficking Related to Opioid EpidemicOpioid Epidemic Putting Thousands More in Foster Care

How WVPB Is Fighting Opioid Addiction and Preparing Tomorrow's Workers

justice_state_of_the_state_0.jpg
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.

  • We must turn the corner on the opioid epidemic: “The first thing we got to do is just this. We have to stop this terrible drug epidemic. We have to. If we don't, it will cannibalize us.”

  • Young people need to know there are great jobs that require specialized training, not a four-year bachelors’ degree: “If you're a student that wants to go into the trades…other kids may look down on you a little bit. It's not fair. It's not right. Some way we have got to let those kids know that we got to have them.”

Here at WVPB, we've been talking about how we can educate West Virginians around these two issues: workforce development and fighting opioid addiction.
The good news is, we’ve recently received a major grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for workforce development, called “American Graduate.” We’ll be working with partners to develop videos to educate young people, their parents, and educators about great careers that don’t require a four-year degree – and how to prepare for them.

And on the opioid epidemic, we’re working with experts to determine how we can help. What messages can WVPB create to educate the public and decrease the number of people dying from overdoses? Other states have turned the corner on this epidemic – WVPB wants to make 2018 the year West Virginia starts to improve.

If you have ideas for how we can prepare young people for careers, and how we can begin to win the fight against opioid addiction, let me know! I’m 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.