Health & Science

courtesy Roane General Hospital

Roane General Hospital is spending about $22 million to renovate its facilities in Spencer, West Virginia. A loan of $26 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will cover most of the expansion. 

There will be a new medical office building, offering more preventative wellness care for the community, including a gym and fitness center, free educational classes, health screenings and support groups. 


Peer Recovery Support Specialist Roger Dodd (right) speaks to fellow members of PITAR in Petersburg, W.Va. at its October 2019 meeting.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 


In order to help people struggling with addiction, some communities are taking steps to think outside the box. 

The Potomac Highlands region of the Eastern Panhandle has brought together law enforcement, faith-based organizations and community members. The goal is to create one robust network of support in this rural region for people struggling with substance use disorder. 

The network strives to combat stigma and offer a safety net that, for some, say feels like a family.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, some communities are trying to think outside the box to help people struggling with addiction. In the Potomac Highlands of the Eastern Panhandle, law enforcement, faith-based organizations and community members want to create one robust network of support. As Liz McCormick reports, the network strives to fight the stigma associated with substance abuse disorder and offer a safety net that some say feels like a family.

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Beginning in the late 1970s, shelters and other resources began to become available for survivors of domestic violence in West Virginia. But navigating those resources and legal processes that can go with it isn’t easy.

Dr. Stephanie Parker begins the class day at Huffman Academy Pre-K by having the students fill in a sentence about the day Dec. 15, 2018.
Julianna Hunter for 100 Days in Appalachia

Appalachia is, and has been for decades, lagging behind the rest of the nation in a number of health outcomes. The region struggles with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and much more.

But new research on the rate at which Appalachians are dying has health officials calling for more investments in not just health care but in education and economic development to reverse the trend.

If you often hit that midafternoon slump and feel drowsy at your desk, you're not alone. The number of working Americans who get less than seven hours of sleep a night is on the rise.

And the people hardest hit when it comes to sleep deprivation are those we depend on the most for our health and safety: police and health care workers, along with those in the transportation field, such as truck drivers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for decades, coal was king in West Virginia. But as more of our nation’s electricity is starting to come from other sources, coal is on the decline. On the latest episode of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s program Us & Them, host Trey Kay has a conversation about coal and its future in Appalachia with journalist Ken Ward, who has covered the coal industry for decades here in the state. We hear part of that interview.

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Tap water delivered by more than 2,000 water systems across the Ohio Valley contain pollutants, many harmful to human health, even though they mostly meet federal drinking water standards. That’s according to a newly-updated database released by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. 

 

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A West Virginia hospital has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Williamson Memorial Hospital made the Chapter 11 filing Monday in federal bankruptcy court.

Health officials say a restaurant worker in northern West Virginia has contracted hepatitis A.

The Monongalia County Health Department says in a news release the worker at the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Morgantown was potentially contagious between Sept. 30 and Oct. 16.

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET

Facing increased questions over whether Facebook can be trusted to protect its users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers Wednesday that the company will pull out of its controversial digital currency project if U.S. regulators don't approve it.

Zuckerberg said the social network would leave the nonprofit body governing the new currency, Libra, if other members decided to go ahead without regulatory approval.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, foster families are in high demand in many states. West Virginia has the highest rate in the country for the number of children who are removed from their homes and put into state care. There are a lot of families who are stepping up to take them in, but many say they feel unprepared for the looming task of taking care of the children who are placed in their homes. Roxy Todd reports.

How Should Opioid Lawsuit Money Be Spent? Ohio Valley Has No Shortage Of Needs

Oct 21, 2019
Clients waiting for addiction treatment services in Berkeley County, W.Va.
Rebecca Kiger / Ohio Valley ReSource file photo

At a town hall event in Logan, Ohio, Kelly Taulbee walks through the steps of an encounter with someone experiencing an opioid overdose. She's training a group to use NARCAN, the opioid reversal medication. She pulled out the small applicator and demonstrated how easy it is to spray the medication in someone’s nose.

As the director of nursing for the Hocking County health department, she understands the importance of this life-saving medicine.

“It is simple. It is safe. It is effective,” she said.

But she also knows that NARCAN is just one of many tools needed to respond to a crisis that has grown to affect nearly every aspect of life in this rural corner of southern Ohio.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, last-minute settlement negotiations in Ohio are proceeding in a closely watched case against some companies that made or sold opioid painkillers.

It’s the first hearing of the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, which consolidated thousands of lawsuits brought by state, county and local governments. The stakes are enormous, especially for the Ohio Valley, which has some of the worst rates of addiction and overdose deaths.

As the Ohio Valley ReSource’s Aaron Payne reports, the hardest-hit communities have no shortage of needs, and plenty of ideas for how money won from a judgement or settlement should be used.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in rural Appalachia, if you face homelessness, it can be challenging to find resources to help get back on your feet.

A pastor in St. Albans, Kanawha County, saw that a homeless encampment consisting of about 10 tents in his community was being pushed out. People were being told they had to leave. So, he decided to help.

But not everyone in the town approves of the work he’s doing.

Independent producer Kyle Vass spent some time this summer looking into what’s been happening with the “tent city.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Dr. Steven Paine serves as West Virginia’s 31st state superintendent.

When asked what he’s most excited about in education spheres throughout the state, he says there are promising indications of improved student academic achievement, and he points to the state’s impressive graduation rates. He also highlights the career and technical education programs throughout the state. 

Education reporter Glynis Board spoke with Paine in depth about these and other issues. We hear some of that conversation.

Flynn Larsen/Sesame Workshop/AP

Sesame Street has a history of tackling big issues.

Last week, they launched a new short film to help kids going through tough times when their parents are struggling with addiction.

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Public forums will be held starting this week on a statewide response to substance abuse in West Virginia.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Five out of every 100 babies born in West Virginia are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, the physical effects experienced during withdrawal from drugs. Many of these babies are put into foster care.

There are a lot of families stepping up to take them in, but many in West Virginia  — which has the highest rate of children taken into state care in the U.S. — say they feel unprepared for the task of taking care of the children with this group of conditions.


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As many American parents struggle with opioid addiction, the number of children put into foster care in the U.S. is steadily increasing. 

In West Virginia, the foster care system has been hit particularly hard; roughly 6,700 children in the state are in foster care, an increase of almost 70% in six years. 


The Paloma Crisis Stabilization & Detox Center is located on Wilson Street in Martinsburg, W.Va. It opened in October 2018. Paloma is the first facility to offer overnight services in the Eastern Panhandle since the 1990s.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


It’s been one year since the Paloma Crisis Stabilization & Detox Center opened in Martinsburg. The facility is the first of its kind in the Eastern Panhandle in more than two decades. 

The Center is open 24/7 and offers in-patient, or overnight services for people suffering from substance use disorder. The launch of the 16-bed facility hit some bumps in the beginning, but it’s remained open and has helped more than 250 people find recovery.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, it’s been a year since the Paloma Crisis Stabilization and Detox Center opened in Martinsburg. The facility offers in-patient, or overnight services for people suffering from substance use disorder. As Liz McCormick reports, the launch of the new facility hit some bumps in the beginning, but it’s remained open and helps many find recovery.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, growing up in poverty makes it difficult to access good opportunities and to succeed in our society. But when you live in an area of concentrated poverty, the struggles intensify. That’s according to new information from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Eric Douglas brings us the story.

A Virginia doctor received a 40-year prison sentence on Wednesday for illegally prescribing more than half a million doses of oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl and other opioids to patients for years.

Authorities say Dr. Joel Smithers operated a "pill mill" out of Martinsville, Va., located about 15 miles north of the Virginia-North Carolina border and about 175 miles southwest of Richmond.

Johnson & Johnson and two Ohio counties have reached a tentative $20.4 million settlement that removes the corporation from the first federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, scheduled to begin later this month.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, communities along the Tug Fork River in Mingo County are touting their waterway as a draw for outdoor recreational events. But there’s still a lot of work to be done in the river, to make sure it’s safe and clean. 

Emily Allen joined a group of volunteers and state workers yesterday [Monday] as they removed hundreds of old tires from the river.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, at least two organizations in West Virginia specialize in bringing medical care to those without housing. Corey Knollinger followed one of those organizations on their weekly street rounds in the Northern Panhandle to find out how nurses and doctors interact with those who are experiencing homelessness.

Schools Seek Ways To Help Children Exposed To Drugs In The Womb

Sep 23, 2019
White House

Students line up single file behind teachers at West Elementary in Athens, Ohio, for. the walk downhill from the brick building to board buses or meet up with the person taking them home.

Some talk about their day, others run off to the playground and some discuss the latest Pokémon movie. A chant for the yellow, electric mouse Pikachu breaks out.

It’s a scene familiar to Tom Gibbs, the superintendent of the Athens City School District, who’s making sure these and the nearly 3,000 other students he watches over make it home safely.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear how the opioid crisis is reshaping life in some Appalachian communities, and why people across our region are calling for new approaches to care for babies who are exposed to opioids in the womb, and their mothers. Our assistant news director, Glynis Board, guest-hosts this episode. On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear the first part of Inside Appalachia’s show.

Joanie Tobin/100 Days in Appalachia

Life as empty nesters was on the horizon for Lisa Robbins and her husband Brent. They had raised two children and were enjoying helping them with their two grandchildren. But in 2016, police arrested Lisa’s daughter, Mollie Ogle. 

“She got caught using drugs, shooting up in her vehicle in a convenience store parking lot,” Lisa said. “And so she went to jail."


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