Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting / via Tableau

Data Viz: When Did West Virginia's Heroin Problem Begin? Which Counties Are Hurting the Most?

As the stories airing this week on West Virginia Morning illustrate, West Virginia is in the midst of a heroin epidemic. According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources' Drug Overdose Database, heroin has claimed the lives of more than 600 West Virginians since 2001. But what else can we glean from this information? When did it all begin? And which counties are seeing the highest rate of deaths related to heroin overdoses? The interactive map below paints a dark picture of the state's problem with the drug in recent years and also shows other key facts as medical professionals, emergency officials, law enforcement officers and lawmakers all attempt to find solutions.
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If you want information about where to find help for substance abuse in West Virginia, call 1-866-WV-QUITT, contact your local comprehensive behavioral health center, or visit the West Virginia Prescription Drug Abuse Solutions Program's website.

Drug courts are becoming a more and more popular option for judges dealing with minor drug offenders in West Virginia. Instead of being incarcerated, offenders go through a highly structured, highly monitored rehabilitative process overseen by a probation officer and counselor.

Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Abortions are now banned 20 weeks after conception in West Virginia.

The ban became effective Tuesday, despite Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's disapproval.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former coal boss Don Blankenship wants his July trial start delayed until January.

In a motion in Beckley federal court Friday, attorneys for the ex-Massey Energy CEO say they wouldn't be prepared for a July 13 trial start.

West Virginia State Treasurer's Office

West Virginia's latest unclaimed property auction features a rare penny that Treasurer John Perdue expects will draw attention from coin collectors.

The 1909-S VDB penny is among a variety of items that will be offered for sale. The penny is ranked 14th in the second edition of "100 Greatest U.S. Coins." Its appraised value is $500.

  Coming up at 7:41 on West Virginia Morning, our series about the heroin epidemic “The Needle and the Damage Done” continues.  Today, reports about law enforcement officers feel about carrying and using a drug to reverse the effects of a drug overdose.  That’s coming up on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story. 

May 26, 1888: City Founder Alfred Beckley Dies at 86

20 hours ago
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

  City founder Alfred Beckley died on May 26, 1888. It was his 86th birthday. He was the son of John James Beckley, the first Librarian of Congress and a political ally of Thomas Jefferson. With help from President James Monroe, Alfred Beckley received an appointment to West Point.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As law enforcement officials are increasingly turning their attention to the growing problem with heroin in West Virginia, many of them have strong opinions on the legislation that provides greater access to Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that combats the effects of an overdose. That bill, which goes into effect Wednesday, will allow police officers to carry the medicine. But some law enforcement officials believe that increased access enables heroin users.

A law that goes into effect on May 27 allows police officers and those close to addicts to carry the opioid overdose antidote drug Naloxone. While law enforcement officials generally agree that it’s a good idea to carry the drug, there are some questions about safety, training and exactly how the new law will be implemented.

“I totally agree with trying to address the problem at its root but there are a lot of other issues that have to be overcome along the way,” Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said. 

Matt Jackfert

Have you ever wondered how to create your own album? Or maybe were just curious as to how a band goes from their garage to professional recording studio? Let Matt Jackfert take you through a 10-step process of creating your very own album by following Charleston-based group, The Company Stores, as they went from playing in basements and garages in 2013, to releasing a full album in 2014 called Rollin' In.

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