Drugs

Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
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Drugmakers would be required to identify the legitimate need for controlled substances to justify their production under a proposed rule intended to rein in the diversion of drugs for illicit purposes.

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the proposed rule change Tuesday.

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More than 40 people were arrested in Huntington this week on drug and gun charges in a sweeping joint investigation targeting accused interstate drug traffickers in what officials called a "turning point" for the city -- and "in the war against the opiate nightmare." 

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors, narcotics
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Two West Virginia counties have joined numerous others in suing pharmaceutical companies, drugstores and the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy over the state's opioid crisis.

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More federal prosecutors will be used in a crackdown on gun and violent crime and drug trafficking in one West Virginia city. 

The number of prosecutors focusing on those cases in Huntington will be doubled immediately and tripled within weeks, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said Thursday. He didn't provide specific numbers.

needle exchange sign
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Local outcry has scuttled plans to bring a needle exchange program to a West Virginia town.

News outlets report that Kanawha County Communities That Care spokesman Scott Burton said at a Monday night public meeting in Rand that communities that don't want the harm reduction program won't get it.

Kara Lofton

Several West Virginia health organizations, including West Virginia Prevention First and the state's Department of Health and Human Resources have joined together to launch the Health & Hope WV Initiative. Prevention First is a conglomeration of organizations that collect and disseminate information and facilitate communication, according to a press release.

Organizers say they hope the new site and media content will both serve as a comprehensive resource and help combat some of the stigma addiction still faces.

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On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll learn more about how children are being affected by the opioid epidemic and what’s being done to help them. 


Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
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Jim Johnson, director of the West Virginia's new Office of Drug Control Policy, has announced his retirement after almost five months in the position.

The office within the Department of Health and Human Resources was established by lawmakers to coordinate and expand state measures against drug abuse.

On The Legislature Today, we chat with state Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch about a massive reorganization bill that was introduced in the House of Delegates. The bill would divide DHHR into four separate agencies.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors
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Updated Friday January 12 at 4:18 p.m.

State health officials are proposing a multifaceted plan for confronting the drug crisis killing hundreds of West Virginians each year, one that would require action by everyone from lawmakers to doctors to judges to emergency responders to the general public.

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Health officials in West Virginia say a plan to combat the state's opioid crisis has been released for public comment.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors, narcotics
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A West Virginia University researcher says the official U.S. suicide rate, which rose 34 percent from 2000 to 2016, fails to include many people who kill themselves purposely with drugs.

Opioids
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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.

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Throughout the Ohio Valley and West Virginia, thousands of children are in foster care -- and the opioid epidemic is sending thousands more to join them. In fact, in just the past year, West Virginia's foster care system alone saw an increase of 1,000 children entering care.

In 2016, West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with the Holbens, a former-foster family in Kearneysville, Jefferson County, to shed light on the struggles the opioid epidemic brings on foster care. We now check back in with that family and explore what lies ahead in combating this crisis.

Be sure to tune in for more on this subject during our nightly television program, The Legislature Today beginning January 11, 2018.

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.

Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is targeting opioid abuse in Appalachia by establishing a new field office in Kentucky to oversee a region ravaged by overdose deaths.

The new Louisville field office will have a special agent in charge to oversee investigations in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Two more West Virginia communities have joined others around the state in suing drug companies over the opioid epidemic.

Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
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An annual prescription drug take-back event at West Virginia's Capitol is being expanded to two days this month.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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A West Virginia University researcher is working in two counties to apply lessons about peer groups from Iceland where he says teenage use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco has been "virtually eradicated."

Alfgeir Kristjansson, assistant professor in WVU's School of Public Health, says the island nation pushed to replace unsupervised, aimless leisure time with purposeful, organized activities that help them cope with stress, fill their need for camaraderie and provide a goal to pursue as a team.

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Another West Virginia county has been designated as an area with high drug trafficking.

Wood County, West Virginia and fifteen other counties nationwide are being added to the list of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

Huntington
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Nearly $2 million in federal grants will help one West Virginia city combat a drug abuse epidemic.

The city of Huntington says in a news release that two grants will be used for a program that assists overdose victims within 72 hours.

Huntington, Ohio River
Youngamerican / Wikimedia Commons

A proposed ordinance that targets property owners for repeated illegal incidents on their premises and evicts tenants has drawn opposition from West Virginia's American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors
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Over $1 million in federal funding has been awarded to a project aimed at addressing the opioid crisis in West Virginia.

The project is based in southern West Virginia, and it’s spearheaded by West Virginia University. The goal is to develop comprehensive ways to prevent and treat the consequences of opioid abuse, such as overdose, HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases.

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Jim Johnson has been named director of the West Virginia's new Office of Drug Control Policy.

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch announced Johnson's appointment Thursday.

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West Virginia cities are considering ordinances targeting property owners for repeated illegal incidents on their premises.

Local news outlets report similar proposals in Huntington and Nitro follow the model of a Martinsburg drug house ordinance that went into effect in May and has since produced several busts.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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Three substance use disorder programs in West Virginia are receiving $1.6 million in funding from the state.

The funding was announced by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.

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.

John Shott
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana will be put to a vote in the House of Delegates Tuesday. Over the weekend, a handful of delegates from both sides of the aisle met with attorneys to discuss potential amendments to the Senate bill that were discussed in a late night floor session Monday. The bill has now taken a much different form than when it was approved in the state Senate just last week.

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A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report analyzed health across West Virginia, categorizing each county as “most healthy” (Jefferson County) or “least healthy” (McDowell). A variety of factors contributed to a county’s health status, such as environment, access to resources, education and youth disconnection.

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.

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