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WVPB launches RECOVERY project with Zach’s story

Larry Dowling

Thirty-five-year-old Zach Melba lives in a beautiful home in Ritter Park in Huntington, WV, with his wife Kathy and several children.  He works in construction while she runs her own bakery.

Zach is 8 years into recovery.

“As a kid, I felt disconnected from those around me, and that feeling left me with a big empty hole,” Zach explains. “And I filled that hole with whatever would fill it the quickest.”

Zach’s story is one of the first in West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s focus on substance use disorder, an effort going beyond delivery of its award-winning news coverage.

“There’s a lot of controversy about whether it’s a choice or a disease. I promise, no kid ever said ‘when I grow up I want to be a junkie,’” Zach added.  “There comes a time when you lose choice, you lose power and choice over the drink or the drug.”

WVPB believes through community engagement it can play a role in fostering a better understanding of substance use disorder, using its capabilities as media creators and communicators.

We’ve gathered a group of some of the most active professionals addressing West Virginia’s opioid crisis, who have helped us identify and shape our RECOVERY focus. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Orion Strategies, West Virginia Health Right, Recovery Point, first responders, social service agencies and other entities are all working with WVPB in our programming effort to increase awareness and understanding, and to promote individual and community action.

So in the months ahead you’ll be meeting more folks in recovery like Zach, on our air and on the web, learning more about substance use disorder as they share with us their personal journeys.

We’re also sponsoring community events that will provide opportunities for meaningful dialogue on addressing West Virginia’s drug epidemic, like a series of film screenings of Recovery Boys, the latest film by West Virginia filmmaker Elaine Sheldon which follows 4 young men in rehab. Panel discussions with the subjects of the film and the filmmakers will follow these screenings. Check our website for information on an upcoming event nearest you.  

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s goal with its RECOVERY project is to help break down the stigma often associated with substance use disorder, to deliver a compassionate message that recovery is possible, and to distribute information on where help is available.   We hope our viewers and listeners will embrace our effort and participate whenever possible.

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