© 2020
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
TV Outages in Eastern Panhandle
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

First Lady Melania Trump in West Virginia for Opioid Talk

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, left, first lady Melania Trump, center, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, right, listen as Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial, speaks at Cabell-Huntington Health Center in Huntington, WVa., July 8, 2019
Andrew Harnik
/
Associated Press
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, left, first lady Melania Trump, center, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, right, listen as Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial, speaks at Cabell-Huntington Health Center in Huntington, WVa., July 8, 2019

First lady Melania Trump visited West Virginia on Monday to learn how a city at the center of the nation’s opioid epidemic is grappling with the crisis.

She met with federal, state and local officials in Huntington and heard how the area’s police, schools and health care centers are trying to fight the opioid scourge.

“I am here to give you my support,” Trump told participants in the roundtable discussion.

West Virginia has the country’s highest fatal opioid overdose rate and has struggled, like many other states, to confront the many aspects of the problem. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams characterized it as a grim task.

“If not another gram of heroin is distributed, if not another gram of heroin is sold, we will be dealing with this issue for the next four or five decades,” he said.

The first lady asked how the crisis is hurting children and was told about research on babies born addicted to opioids and about addicted teens who need a different system of care. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin described the challenges that arise when kids are taken from addicted parents and placed into foster care.

The first lady also spoke separately with a small group that included the city’s fire chief and the head of a medical center that specializes in caring for babies born addicted to drugs.

“We are looking forward to working on the problems West Virginia is facing with the opioid crisis,” she told them.


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