Addiction

Rebecca Kiger

This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk with Marcus Murrow, a West Virginia native who’s telling the story of southern West Virginia, and the surprising way cultural divides are sometimes bridged in and around Appalachia. He's working on a film called Staring up from the Mine Shaft.

HHS Sec. Tom Price speaking at a press conference at the state Capitol.
Ashton Marra / WVPB

Remarks by a top U.S. health official have reignited a quarrel in the world of addiction and recovery: Does treating opioid addiction with medication save lives? Or does it trade one addiction for another?

Health Secretary Tom Price's recent comments — one replying to a reporter's question, the other in a newspaper op-ed — waver between two strongly held views.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

It’s been about 20 years since the opioid epidemic started. Appalachia has been called ground zero for this crisis, and the Mountain State leads the country in drug overdose deaths. This episode of Inside Appalachia explores how the epidemic is affecting veterans, who are twice as likely to become addicted to opioids than the general, or civilian, population. 


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It’s been about 20 years since the opioid epidemic first exploded across Appalachia, and now doctors are shifting away from prescribing opioids for long-term pain. 

But this shift away from pills has met resistance from some  doctors and patients.

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear why addiction hit Appalachia so hard. We'll also find out what the medical community is doing to fight the pain pill epidemic.

A nursery where drug-affected babies are treated at Lily’s Place in Huntington, W.Va.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

Marshall University is hoping to expand Huntington's services for babies born addicted to drugs by adding a comprehensive center that would follow babies to kindergarten.

The Herald Dispatch reports that creators of the plan met Monday with Rep. Evan Jenkins to discuss the program. Jenkins pledged his support during the meeting.

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Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released a report that analyzes the House of Representative's proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act. The office projects that the new bill would leave 24 million people uninsured by 2026.

Such an increase could have big consequences for the more than 2 million people addicted to pain medication across the United States, including more than 200,000 in the Ohio Valley Region. 

While millions of addictive pain pills flooded West Virginia, a generation of Appalachians grew up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs. Hear some of their stories on this week's classic episode of Inside Appalachia.

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Gambling has many of the same symptoms as other addictions, including the urge to continue the behavior despite negative consequences, but it’s different in one key way.

 

 

“With problem gambling, sometimes people see the problem as the solution,” said Sheila Moran, director of marketing for the helpline 1-800-Gambler.

 

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For a generation of Appalachians, growing up with a parent addicted or abusing drugs is a way of life. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from men and women who have experienced the effects of opioid addiction and of the innocence that this epidemic has claimed.

Manchin Joins WVU Roundtable on Opioid Abuse

Oct 24, 2016
Anne Li / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Audience members packed into an auditorium on West Virginia University's medical campus Monday to listen a roundtable on opioid abuse held by WVU and Senator Joe Manchin.

The roundtable, moderated by WVU School of Medicine executive dean Clay Marsh, featured WVU researchers and medical staff in addition to students. The panelists discussed treatment, prevention, research and stigma associated with opioid addiction. 

Addiction Stories Program
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

  People in addiction recovery came out Wednesday night in Huntington at Marshall University, to tell their story on how it’s affected their lives.

  Nick Pauken was part of the Marshall University program “Addiction in Appalachia: Our Stories”. In collaboration between the Marshall Student Health Education Program and the English Department, those in addiction recovery worked with English professors to write a monologue about their story. It was a chance for those in recovery, family members and significant others to tell how addiction impacted their lives.

pills
Wikimedia Commons

Health officials, law enforcement officers and other specialists will gather next week for a summit on addiction issues in West Virginia.

The event will take place Monday evening at the Dr. Lisa Curry Annex in Chesapeake.

Kanawha County state Delegate Chris Stansbury will host the summit.

GRo Huntington, Jeannie Harrison
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

Addiction treatment specialists in Huntington are hoping something called nature assisted therapy is the next step for helping addicts in a program called GRo Huntington.

An aerial view of downtown Parkersburg.
Yassie / wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia organization is planning to open an addiction recovery center in Parkersburg.

News outlets report that Recovery Point of West Virginia will open a peer-operated recovery facility for between 60 and 100 men thanks to recently approved funding by the Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates approved a bill that expands addiction treatment available in regional jails.

House Bill 4176 would create a program for inmates in regional jails suffering from an addiction to opioids, allowing them to receive medical treatment with the drug Vivitrol coupled with counseling.

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West Virginia has the highest rate of youth drug overdose deaths in the country, according to a new national report.

The study, produced by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health, found that nationwide, youth drug overdose deaths have more than doubled among people aged 12-25.

West Virginia is struggling to keep up with the demand for treatment options for recovering addicts and if you’re a woman needing help, those options are even more scarce. Including co-ed, women and children, there are a total of 269 recovery beds for women, according the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR).

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The country will turn its eyes to Charleston this week as President Obama makes a trip to the capital city Wednesday. He’ll hold a town hall style meeting with West Virginians focused on substance abuse. The issue, however, has weighed heavy on the minds of state lawmakers over the past several years and continues to be a topic of conversation in the Legislature. During interim meetings Sunday, legislators began to look at the effects substance abuse is having on the state’s workforce and how they can combat the problem.

Jessica Lilly

A much anticipated alternative for addiction recovery is now a reality in southern West Virginia. The Four Seasons Recovery Center in Mercer County is part of the West Virginia Justice Reinvestment Act. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In the world of medication-assisted substance abuse treatment, there are three prescription drugs that are the most widely known: methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol.

Traditional Opioid Agonists

Methadone and Suboxone have been the most widely used drugs in addiction therapy in West Virginia. Both are synthetic opioid-based medications that react with opioid receptors in the brain just as heroin or prescription narcotics would. These drugs are often used to wean people off of illicit drugs like heroin or prescription painkillers like oxycodone.

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