Three WVU researchers surveyed more than 2200 teachers in 49 counties on how the opioid crisis has impacted classrooms. They found 70 percent of West Virginia teachers report an increase in students being impacted by substance abuse at home, yet only 10 percent say they felt confident knowing how to support these children. In a press release, the authors said they were surprised by how overwhelmed teachers reported being and that most responses indicated they are experiencing “emotional exhaustion, cynicism and a lack of personal accomplishment related to the changing classroom dynamics created by the opioid crisis.” The teachers also reported that the substance use disorder is impacting not only students who are dealing with addiction in their own families but the classroom as a whole. The authors say they hope to use their findings to create a pilot teacher training program around addiction in the classroom that can be used to support teachers around the state. The findings were presented to the Board of Education earlier today.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.