Drug Abuse

Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

A federal judge on Tuesday likened the nation's opioid epidemic to the deadly 1918 flu pandemic while noting the drug crisis is "100 percent manmade."

Judge Dan Polster urged participants on all sides of lawsuits against drugmakers and distributors to work toward a common goal of reducing overdose deaths. He said the issue has come to courts because "other branches of government have punted" it.

Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

  Imagine living and working somewhere designed to fit a couple hundred people. Now picture that same space crammed with twice that number. Madison County, Kentucky, Jailer Doug Thomas doesn’t have to imagine it. He lives it.

“I’m doing all that I can with what I have to work with, which is not a lot,” he said. “Because we’re a 184 bed facility with almost 400 people.”

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

 


The start of the 2018 state Legislative session is only one month away. Lawmakers in the Eastern Panhandle met in Martinsburg for a Legislative Outlook Breakfast hosted by the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce to discuss several issues they hope to tackle at the statehouse this year.

 

One focus is creating more ways to combat West Virginia’s opioid epidemic -- particularly how the crisis affects those in the state’s foster care system.

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A team of researchers at Ohio State University is trying to determine what anti-drug messages are most likely to cause potential drug abusers to say no to drugs.

28 participants watched 32 30 second PSAs while in an functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. Half were at high-risk of drug abuse and half were at low-risk. Drug abuse risk was assessed with a self-report measure that the participants had completed earlier.

The researchers looked specifically at connectivity patterns between different parts of the brain while the anti-drug messages played.

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State health data shows West Virginia has seen a record number of fatal overdoses from methamphetamine this year, increasing by 500 percent since 2014.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports statistics released by the West Virginia Health Statistics Center show about half of the overdoses involved the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Thursday steps for an opioid response plan to combat the opioid epidemic. DHHR is asking West Virginians to help develop the plan through public comment and recommendations over the next 15 days.

Joe Manchin
Susan Walsh / AP Photo

After national scrutiny, Pennsylvania Representative Tom Marino has withdrawn from consideration to lead the National Drug Control Policy office – a position commonly called the Drug Czar. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who has been vocal about his disapproval of the nomination, applauded the move.

Mary Woolley, Research America, Research!America, Shepherd University
Shepherd University

Shepherd University hosted an event Monday exploring the possibility of more efficient ways for universities, industry, government, and scientific researchers to work together to combat the opioid epidemic. And a recent public opinion survey indicates West Virginians want to see the state be a leader on this issue.

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U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins says West Virginia has received a $1.4 million federal grant to support the state's drug courts.

The Justice Department funding supports existing courts that focus on drug cases and helps expand them to counties that don't have them.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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Attorneys general from 35 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are urging health insurers to review their policies for pain management treatment to spark higher use of alternatives to opioid prescriptions.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Monday announced the bipartisan coalition's efforts in the ongoing fight to end opioid addiction.

West Virginia Attorney General's Office

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has organized another regional meeting with clergy in a faith-based initiative to involve more churches in dealing with drug abuse.

West Virginia’s highest court has ruled that evidence of illicit drugs in a newborn’s umbilical cord is sufficient to bring a child abuse proceeding against the mother and the father who knew about her drug use.

The Supreme Court says state law clearly seeks to protect a threatened or harmed child from the person inflicting the injury or one failing to meet the child’s needs.

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West Virginia is establishing a new Office of Drug Control Policy to coordinate statewide funding, reporting and data about drug use, overdoses, addiction treatment, needs and statewide policy.

The law approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jim Justice requires health care providers, pharmacies, medical examiners, police, prosecutors and emergency responders to report suspected or actual overdoses, medical treatments, use of overdose antidotes and drug poisoning deaths.

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A conference on the risks of alcohol and drug abuse on college campuses is set at West Virginia University.

WVU says in a news release that the meeting will be Monday at the Erickson Alumni Center on the Morgantown campus.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

House Bill 2620, creating the West Virginia Drug Overdose Monitoring Act, would provide an office to gather data about the drug epidemic in West Virginia. Senate Judiciary Chair Charles Trump called that office a “hub.”

This would be a tool for the state to track concerns over drug abuse and overdoses throughout the state, as well as connect with other states to determine how they deal with similar concerns. Sen. Mike Woelfel said it is time for the Legislature to solve the problem.

Phil Isner
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that will encourage the creation of substance abuse treatment facilities in the state.

Patrick Morrisey, W. Va. Attorney General
Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia University School of Nursing and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are embarking on a drug abuse prevention program with eighth-graders.

The students and attorney general are trying to raise awareness about opioid abuse prevention. They will share information with students in Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Preston and Wetzel counties. The first stop is Thursday at Mountaineer Middle School in Morgantown.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice has sent lawmakers a second budget plan this session and now plans to sweep $120 million in one time monies to balance the 2017 budget.

Lawmakers also got their first look at the $610 million deficit that would be created by the Senate's current tax reform bill that would repeal the personal income tax and replace it with an expanded consumer sales tax. 

State Journal Managing Editor Ann Ali and MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinney recap the week's budget news.

Attorneys General Meet to Combat Drug Abuse

Oct 28, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, in honor of Halloween, we’ll have a story about the Philippi mummies and Billy Bragg and Joe Henry bring us the Mountain Stage song of the week.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

The West Virginia Supreme Court is overturning the child neglect death conviction of a woman whose newborn died after she abused drugs while pregnant.

Friday's 3-2 decision says Stephanie Elaine Louk must be acquitted of the December 2014 sentence imposed by Nicholas County Circuit Court of three to 15 years' imprisonment.

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