Health

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. 


Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. The state is also in the middle of a budget crisis that impacts critical health services. At the state level, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources budget has been cut $181 million since 2015. Bill Crouch, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources cabinet secretary, said any more cuts would result in a reduction of services.

“The reality is that many of these cuts will affect individuals and communities and providers in communities,” he said.

Jessica Lilly

Coal mining has touched so many aspects of life in Appalachia. The coal industry has provided more than just jobs — it’s helped build towns, bridges and it’s even provided money for many Appalachians to go to college. We also have a deep cultural connection to coal and its history.

Still, there’s no denying the coal industry has changed the landscape of our mountains, and infected many miners with a deadly disease known as black lung.

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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.

Adobe Stock

The House Republican health care proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act could have a profound impact on women’s health care coverage.

The ACA reformed several insurance provisions that affect women, including requiring coverage of no-cost birth control, not allowing insurance companies to charge women more than men and expanding coverage of pre-pregnancy care. Changes to these provisions would impact all women, but especially low-income women.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we’ll check in with Dave Mistich, the editor of our digital journalism project “100 Days in Appalachia” and Johnny Staats and Robert Shafer has our Mountain Stage song of the week.

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

PunchingJudy / Flickr

Ohio County sheriff's deputies are soon going to start carrying antidotes for opioid overdoses.

WTRF-TV reports that the Ohio County commission on Tuesday announced their approval for deputies to carry Naloxone, which reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Appalachia Health News reporter Kara Lofton covered a rally in Charleston where demonstrators are seeking to save the Affordable Care Act and we’ll have a report about the ACA and rural hospitals and health clinics.

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

Dr. Geoffrey Cousins
Jean Snedegar

Since 2010, West Virginia Public Broadcasting has produced a series called Inspiring West Virginians, highlighting 29 leaders in health, business and science. In this week’s episode, we hear three of these stories- a kind of finale- because this is the final year of the Inspiring West Virginians series.

Sarah Jane Sanders

Candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Those are the four basic food groups according to Buddy the Elf. And this time of year, the gluttonous season, it seems like he is onto something.

But researchers say that mindful eating --choosing quality over quantity and savoring your meals instead of, say, plowing through another pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching “Westworld” -- can make a difference.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

What happens to a community as coal jobs go away? Here are some things you might expect: many people leave, schools empty, local businesses struggle to keep their lights on. But here’s something that may not come to mind: extra curricular sports go away.

That’s what happened to children in McDowell County over 25 years ago. They lost their local soccer league. And while the thousands of lost coal jobs may not come back, thanks to a 4-H project, and about a dozen volunteers, soccer is making a comeback in McDowell County.

Drug Addiction in Politics
Alexandra Kanik / Ohio Valley ReSource

The opioid epidemic is on the agenda for political campaigns from the presidential race down to the local level in the Ohio Valley region. Election Day could shape the response to the crisis in states with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdoses.

Pat Fogarty, Director of Business Development and Mission Advancement at The Healing Place treatment center in Louisville said he’s seen the political discussion about addiction change for the better.

On this week's episode, we’ll hear from a midwife who started delivering babies in the early 1970's. We find out what it’s like to deliver a baby at home. And we speak with one doctor about why she opposes home birth. We also visit a famous hippie commune in Appalachia that's said to be the birthplace of modern midwifery.


Volunteer smiles as she talks about why she traveled for five days to help West Virginian flood victims
Chuck Roberts/ WVPB

More than 1,000 homeowners in 12 counties are reporting they are in need of volunteer support as they try to clean up their homes and rebuild following historic June Flooding.

Hundreds if not thousands of volunteers have already donated their time to help, 200 of them through AmeriCorps, a national service organization. 

Daniel Walker/ WVPB

As the coal industry in Appalachia continues to decline, more and more families are struggling. Poor job prospects throughout the region are causing a lot of anxiety in families. And mental health expects say that kind of stress can accumulatively lead to mental illness. What can parents do to help their children cope with stress?

Jeff Pierson

Two artists that were featured on Inside Appalachia recently had their work recognized- and we think that's worth celebrating. So this week we're revisiting one of our favorite episodes from earlier this year- Inside Appalachia Road Trip: Art and Murals Across Appalachia's Backroads.

401(K) 2012 / www.401kcalculator.org

A new ranking of West Virginia Counties based on health outcomes shows Jefferson County ranks among the best and McDowell among the worst.

Democratic Senators continued with attempts to slow or kill a bill that repeals the state's prevailing wage, but the GOP majority maintains the bill will help West Virginia's economy.

Sean O'Leary with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and John Deskins with the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research discuss the possible economic impacts of the bill that will be up for passage in the Senate Thursday.

In light of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, this week on Inside Appalachia we remember the West Virginia water crisis from 2014. We’ll also hear from people in the coalfields who don’t have access to clean water, day in and day out. And we’ll honor the traditional “Appalachian” way of coming together to lean on each other.

Cabell Huntington Health Department
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

The Executive Council for the West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments met Wednesday to discuss the effects of the proposed $4 million in funding cuts to local public health services for fiscal year 2017 as outlined in Governor Tomblin’s budget proposal to the legislature last week.

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