Recovery

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we begin an occasional series we’re calling ​Recovery Stories –– conversations from the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis. Today, we meet Dayton, Ohio-native Andre Lewis and his friend and recovery sponsor, William Roberts. William works in social services in Dayton and is a church pastor with nearly three decades in recovery himself. As Andre explains in this story, he first met William at a treatment program for struggling addicts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, something unusual happened last month: Congress passed an opioid law -- and did it with overwhelming bipartisan support … in both chambers. It was a broad, $8 billion bill that expands access to health services and recovery centers. So it looks like addressing the opioid epidemic is one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on. And that’s the topic of this week’s Red State, Blue State -- our weekly chat between Cherry Glazer of KCRW in California and West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Trey Kay.

WVU Medicine - Ruby
WVU Medicine

West Virginia University Medicine says it plans to open a new residential addiction treatment facility in March.

WVU Medicine spokeswoman Amy Johns told The Dominion Post said officials expect to start accepting patients at the $12 million facility in Morgantown.

On a 90-degree afternoon in July, under the shade of a tree in Philadelphia's McPherson Square Park, I watched a couple sit down, prepare syringes and inject drugs.

The man injected in his arm, the woman in her neck.

I observed them from about a hundred feet away, where I was getting ready to film an interview with someone else.

After they had finished, the woman rested against the man. She was splayed out on top of the man with her neck tilted back, her mouth open.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear another story from our ongoing project focused on confronting the addiction crisis in our region. Assistant News Director Glynis Board spoke with Bill Hogan who shares his recovery story.

Rural Americans are profoundly worried about the opioid crisis and their local economies and many are hoping government can help, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The Doctor And The Epidemic: Three Years At Ground Zero Of The Opioid Crisis

Oct 15, 2018
Ashton Marra / WVPB

When Dr. Rahul Gupta started work as West Virginia’s chief health officer his state was already ground zero for the opioid epidemic, with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose fatalities.

That was 2015, and 735 state residents died from overdoses that year. 

Preliminary data for 2017 show there were 1,011 overdose deaths last year, a record high for the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Monring, the nation’s opioid crisis hit first and hardest in the Ohio Valley. West Virginia, in particular, has suffered some of the highest rates of addiction and overdose deaths in the country. As the state’s public health commissioner, Dr. Rahul Gupta has been the point person in the state’s fight against the epidemic. After three years in that position, Gupta is leaving next month.  
The Ohio Valley ReSource's Aaron Payne spoke with Gupta about his time at the center of the opioid crisis.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the House of Delegates has selected Delegate Roger Hanshaw as the chamber’s new presiding officer. Hanshaw took the podium over the Democrats’ choice, House Minority Leader Tim Miley. Dave Mistich has more on the past two days and the race for speaker.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, drug overdose deaths in the Ohio Valley continue to rise. And so do the risks of infectious diseases closely associated with needle drug use. Area health officials say the region’s opioid crisis is now a public health threat on multiple fronts. Aaron Payne reports that health groups with different specialties are teaming up and taking to the road to meet the challenge.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Some medications used to treat opioid use disorders can be abused if taken in large amounts or injected. Others, such as suboxone, prevent the effect of the opioids. Two WVU researchers are studying whether this drug could be used to treat pregnant women with opioid use disorders. Kara  Lofton spoke with researcher Laura Lander about the findings and the challenges of treating pregnant women.

LOFTON: Your research focuses on treating opioid use disorders in pregnant women. What are the challenges with working with this particular patient population?

Larry Dowling

To most folks overnight shift work would be exhausting, and the stress of paying bills at times overwhelming. But to talk to Kelly Strickler of Huntington, WV, who clocks in at a local bakery at 11pm and clocks out at 7am, you’d think she won the lottery.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia Public Broadcasting will cosponsor a screening of the documentary Recovery Boys tonight at University of Charleston’s Geary Auditorium. It’s part of WVPB's Recovery project – a focus on substance use disorder and the various paths to recovery. Part of this effort is sharing stories of those in recovery. Executive producer Suzanne Higgins recently visited with Kelly Strickler, of Huntington, to hear hers.

Adobe Stock

States, including West Virginia, have seen a spike in death rates from drugs, alcohol and suicide, commonly known as “deaths of despair.”

Research from the private health care research organization the Commonwealth Fund found that nationwide, while drug deaths were the smallest contributor to deaths of despair in 2005, they were by far the largest in 2016. In the same time period, deaths from suicide and alcohol rose 25 percent.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, an Ohio-based collaborative thinks journalists can play a bigger role in solving the region’s opioid crisis. Aaron Payne reports that the effort starts with listening to people in some of the hardest-hit communities.

Ohio Collaborative Seeking Solutions To Opioid Crisis

Aug 1, 2018
ReSource reporter Aaron Payne (right) and other journalists meet with community members in Belpre, OH.
Bill Ambrose / Your Voice Ohio

An Ohio-based collaborative thinks journalists can play a bigger role in solving the region’s opioid crisis. The effort starts with listening to people in some of the hardest-hit communities.

A group of about 50 people gathered in a small building at the fairgrounds in Marietta, Ohio, to share their thoughts on the region’s opioid crisis with local journalists.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A few weeks ago, community members  and physicians gathered for a town hall in Beckley, West Virginia. On the agenda? Whether a new psychiatric clinic downtown should be allowed to do medication-assisted treatment from their building.

“What matters is – it’s our neighborhood,” said community member Patty Teubert. “I don’t understand why you don’t hear that.”

Teubert was acting as the spokeswoman for others opposed to the facility, which seemed to be in the overwhelming majority in the meeting.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a Beckley neighborhood has rallied to fight a new psychiatric clinic, that among other things, will offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Kara Lofton reports the tension lies between what experts say is a much-needed service that residents don’t want in their neighborhood.

Jail Cell
Evad37 / Wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia jail is set to launch a new pilot program aimed at helping inmates overcome drug addiction.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports the program was announced Wednesday by the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety secretary, Jeff Sandy. The Western Regional Jail's pilot program will serve 32 men and 32 women in Cabell, Wayne and Putnam counties.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, there are at least 11 harm reduction programs across in West Virginia that offer help to people with substance use disorders. And though there is some controversy about the practice of giving free needles to people who use illegal drugs, these programs can be successful to help get more people into long-term recovery.

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.

Adobe Stock

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has approved a rule change requiring drugmakers to identify a legitimate need for opioids to justify their production in an attempt to rein in their diversion for illicit purposes.

Adobe Stock

Residential treatment services for substance abuse will be offered in five additional West Virginia counties.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources announced the availability of $1 million in funding to expand treatment services in Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Roane counties.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy companies in the Ohio Valley have looked to China as important customers and investors in coal and natural gas. But as Brittany Patterson explains, President Trump’s escalating trade battle with China and other trading partners could have a major effect on the region’s energy sector.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Renovations have started on a building that will become apartments for women undergoing treatment for substance abuse in West Virginia.

Marshall University said in a news release Monday its health provider group, Marshall Health, and the Huntington City Mission have begun construction on the 15,000-square-foot building next to the mission.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from a man who knows what it’s like to struggle and recover from drugs and alcohol. This story and more coming up on this West Virginia Morning.

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.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this episode of West Virginia Morning, we’ll learn how a theater company in Morgantown is looking to contribute to community conversations about substance abuse issues ravaging the region. 


Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A theater company in Morgantown is producing a play that grapples with trauma, addiction and love as part of its 2018 summer season.

Playing off of the drama and emotion evoked on the stage, and in combination with community experts, West Virginia Public Theater hopes to add to the community conversation about the substance abuse issues ravaging the region.


Gabby Marshall

Inside the spotless industrial kitchen at Recovery Point, a long-term drug treatment facility in Charleston, Tracy Jividen helps to cook three meals a day for the nearly 100 women she calls her sisters. This space is her domain, and the irony isn’t lost on her: Last winter, she was stealing so she could eat.

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