Opioid Epidemic

On this West Virginia Morning, health officials in the state are concerned that people are becoming too relaxed about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, making outbreaks more likely. Also, one of the state’s top health officials has resigned. And if the state were to tighten restrictions, what might that mean for our friends in recovery from substance abuse?

Taylor Wright // West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

The fourth annual West Virginia art and writing contest aimed at raising awareness of prescription painkiller abuse has ended, with a student from the southern region named as the winner.

Fourth grader Taylor Wright of Lashmeet/Matoaka Elementary School in Mercer County was selected as the statewide winner in the ‘Kids Kick Opioids’ contest, according to a press release from Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The southern coalfields, including Mercer County, have been impacted especially hard by the epidemic.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting substance use treatment and recovery.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear how one court program that helps bring families back together is adapting in this time of social distancing. And we explore some tips on how to get outside and learn some new history.

Adobe Stock

 


The coronavirus pandemic continues to be the top public health concern in the nation.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported early Thursday morning 12 new cases, bringing the total positive case count in West Virginia to 51.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from a woman who is reaching out to grandparents who are raising their grandkids.

Courtesy photo

Community-based efforts can make a real impact in the fight against the opioid epidemic and could benefit from additional funding. One question, though, is whether money from court settlements against drug manufacturers and distributors will trickle down to community efforts. 

Over the last few years, West Virginia lawmakers have passed dozens of bills, creating policy and changing existing code, in an effort to respond to the state’s drug crisis. We take a closer look at that epidemic and at the work that continues to address it.

Adobe Stock

The University of Rochester Medical Center has been awarded a multi-million-dollar federal grant that will help fight the worst effects of the opioid in Appalachia.

The three-year, 6.7-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will connect substance use disorder experts from the University of Rochester Recovery Center with local health care providers in 23 Appalachian counties. The counties span New York, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

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.

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.

Adobe Stock

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

Paul Williams (left) helps Scott build his 'backpack' guitar. It has a smaller body, meant to easily fit in a pack.
Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It is a hot, late summer night in the small town of Hindman, Kentucky. The sun is setting against the backdrop of the steep Appalachian Mountains. Musicians are warming up for the Knott County Downtown Radio Hour. 

It is essentially a recorded open mic hosted once a month by the Appalachian School of Luthiery, a school that teaches people how to build wooden stringed instruments. Doug Naselroad is the founder and the master luthier of the program.


Adobe Stock


Fayette County has been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDTA. The designation allows for more resources to combat the opioid epidemic.

Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced more than 1.8 billion dollars in funding to states and territories for combating the opioid epidemic.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the history of a certain, very well-known phrase throughout the Mountain State – “West by God Virginia.” And we look at the latest news headlines.

This van is used by the JCESA to transport deceased who are non-medical examiner cases and who have no prior death arrangements. JCESA purchased this van in 2017 to tackle an increase in calls and manage a loss in local resources.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

One of the angles of the opioid epidemic we don’t often hear about is what happens to the bodies of those who become overtaken by addiction. West Virginia Public Broadcasting looks at one group under strain – the state’s forensic pathologists who are charged with performing autopsies.

We also explore one West Virginia community’s efforts to efficiently transport the dead.

Adobe Stock

Low-income Americans are dying at a higher rate than high-income Americans. In fact, the life span of low-income Americans is becoming shorter – a trend largely attributed drug and alcohol related deaths, which has been called deaths of despair.

“The least well-off Americans have seen their wages become stagnant, their jobs become obsolete, their neighborhoods crumbling in various ways. And so there’s a thought that that leads to despair for less educated Americans and they turn to drugs or suicide,” explained University of Michigan professor Arline Geronimus.

Adobe Stock

A total of $14,630,361 has been awarded to West Virginia by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to combat the opioid epidemic.

West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito made the announcement in a press release Thursday.

Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re wading into the American political divide and bringing you voices with distinct points of view from opposite sides of the country. It’s no secret that these days, we live in the divided states of America. Sometimes, it can feel like the only thing that unites us anymore is that now-nearly universal experience of sitting awkwardly around the Thanksgiving table with family members who have different political beliefs, trying to find a way to avoid politics altogether. 


Late in the afternoon on Monday, the West Virginia Senate took up SB 451 – comprehensive education reform – as amended by the House of Delegates. But the upper chamber provided its own amendment to the House’s version. Host Suzanne Higgins and Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich break down the day’s floor action over the bill and what could come next. We also hear from the chairman and minority chairman of the House Select Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse.

Assistant News Director Glynis Board leads a discussion on the impacts and trauma the opioid epidemic has inflicted on West Virginia’s youth, and host Suzanne Higgins chats with Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich for an update on some of the day’s major stories.

It’s been a marathon day in the West Virginia Senate, as senators discuss SB 451 – the comprehensive education reform bill – as a “committee as a whole.” In the House, delegates considered amendments to HB 2010 – transitioning the state’s foster care system to a managed care model.

Appalachia Health News Reporter Kara Lofton leads a discussion on the Justice administration’s plan to tackle the state's substance abuse crisis, and host Suzanne Higgins chats with Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich about the comprehensive education reform bill, which continues to garner attention throughout the state and under the dome.

West Virginia University

Marshall University has been awarded a federal grant to help children affected by the opioid epidemic.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the Department of Justice awarded the West Virginia school's Department of Social Work a $750,000 grant to develop a coalition that will provide aid to elementary school children in Cabell and Wayne counties.

pills
Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge has ruled that state and local governments cannot publicize federal government data about where prescription opioids were distributed — a blow to news organizations seeking to report more deeply on the nation's overdose and addiction crisis.

Health Official: Regional Overdose Death Rates Up, But Flattening

Jul 27, 2018
Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
Pixabay

Health officials in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia say the number of overdose deaths continued to rise in 2017. The Ohio Valley ReSource's Aaron Payne reports that one public health official says, however, there is cause for optimism.

Angie Gray, Nurse Director for the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department, shows a box of sealed, sterile syringes given to participants in her harm reduction program.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Across West Virginia, people are fighting back against the opioid epidemic and pushing the message of recovery. Some of these people run harm reduction clinics – which sometimes include needle exchanges. We meet a nurse in the Eastern Panhandle who runs one of these programs.

West Virginia University

Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. 

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear a special report from The Uncertain Hour, a podcast from American Public Media's Marketplace. Their investigation, which first aired in December, centered on a lesser-known but significant aspect of the opioid crisis: how Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin, its highly addictive pain medication.

Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
Pixabay

County EMS records show Cabell County's overdose totals fell by 41 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared with the same period a year ago.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the use of naloxone — the drug first responders use to reverse an opioid-induced overdose — decreased by 49 percent in the West Virginia county compared to the first half of 2017.

Pages