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.
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Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole will be the honorary starter for the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

National Geographic

  A cable TV miniseries filmed in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle will debut next month.

The state Film Office says the eight-part series "American Genius" will premiere on June 1 on the National Geographic Channel.

The series that chronicles battles in innovation was predominantly filmed in Berkeley and Jefferson counties. Among the genius rivals highlighted were Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, firearms makers Samuel Colt and Daniel Wesson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, and the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss.

McDowell County Board of Education

A project that mentors high school students in McDowell County is seeing success.

Eighteen students from Mount View High in Welch and River View High in Bradshaw were chosen a year ago to participate.

Nearly all of them took their first plane trip last summer to Washington, D.C., where they visited college campuses, job sites and met members of Congress. Each student was assigned a mentor to regularly discuss school, life issues and choices.

Coal giant Murray Energy expects to lay off more than 1,800 mine workers, mostly miners in West Virginia. The St. Clairsville, Ohio-based company announced Friday it plans to lay off 1,417  miners in West Virginia. The Monongalia County mine would be hit hardest, with 588 layoffs.

Ever wondered how a band makes it from garage to professional studio? Join us this Memorial Day as we go inside the making of an album. We track Charleston-based band The Company Stores as they create their first album Rollin' In. On Monday night at 8 PM, Matt Jackfert will walk you through each step and will give you a behind-the-scenes tour as we listen in on the planning and recording of the album. 

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting / via Tableau

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. 

Courtesy of Kenneth King and the WV Mine Wars Museum

Amid news of more mine lay-offs, one former coal town has built a labor museum to attract visitors. Driving down to the new West Virginia Mine Wars Museum , you really feel the fading towns and cities, sliding into the backdrop of the mountains. It's surreal. Many places in Appalachia are. It’s sad to many people who remember the thriving economy here when coal was booming. Wilma Lee Steele says she hopes the museum in Matewan will become a place where people throughout the coalfields can come to reclaim their identity. “I think that we have a lot to say, and I think we’re gonna say it. We’re gonna tell our history, and we’re gonna come together as a community.”

Wikimedia Commons

The opium poppy is a source of beauty in gardens and fields all over the country and the world. But it’s also a source of pain relief and when abused, death.  In recent years death tolls from heroin, a derivative of the poppy, have tripled nationwide, and the numbers are just as stark here in West Virginia.

Frontline PBS recently tackled the poppy’s intimate connection to humans, tracing it back thousands of years. It started with the Sumerians in 3400 B.C., who passed it to the Assyrians, to the Babylonians, to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Persians, the Chinese, British, and in 1905 Congress banned U.S. imports of opium - the derivative of poppy seeds and base of heroin. Little good it did. A black market bloomed thereafter and of course, the 5,000-year-old obsession with the opium poppy continues.

But today our region of the world is in the grips of an especially nasty resurgence of heroin addiction.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

  On May 22, 1861, Thornsberry Bailey Brown became the first Union soldier killed in battle during the Civil War. It occurred during a brief stand-off at Fetterman in Taylor County.

At the beginning of the war, both Union and Confederate forces were scheming to control the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which had arrived in Taylor County in 1857. The railroad would be a key to moving troops and supplies.

In an age of globalization and a shrinking manufacturing sector, two young men in Wheeling are hedging their bets and running with a business idea that first took off in 1854.  

And as we prepare for a special week long series on heroin addiction in West Virginia, Digital Editor Dave Mistich discusses the digital components that supplement the series "The Needle and the Damage Done: West Virginia's Heroin Epidemic."

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