Health & Science

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia Hospital Association official says the state's hospitals stand to lose up to $15 million toward treating low-income patients if federal cuts to a Medicaid program remain in place.

Kermit, WV
Chuck Roberts

As the opioid epidemic continues to kill people across the country, local governments are struggling to get a handle on the problem. More and more, states and municipalities are filing suit against pharmaceutical companies. That trend started right here, in the place that’s known as the “epicenter” of the opioid crisis. 

Survey Reveals Changing Attitudes about Opioids

Jan 19, 2018
Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

A new survey of likely West Virginia voters on the issues expected to come up during this year’s legislative session included some striking views on the state’s opioid epidemic.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump has helped put the national spotlight on the Ohio Valley’s opioid crisis. But his record of action on the issue is mixed. As part of the series, One Year, Under Trump, Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Aaron Payne reports that public health officials in the region say they need more funding to back up the president’s promises.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The number of West Virginians who have died of opioid-related drug overdoses has climbed drastically every year for the past five years. West Virginia lawmakers say getting a handle on the state’s opioid epidemic is one of their top legislative priorities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Kristin Phillips is one of two physical therapists in West Virginia specializing in women’s health. In the next episode of our occasional series, Windows into Health Care, health reporter Kara Lofton talks with Phillips about the main issues she sees in her practice. A warning to listeners, this interview includes detailed descriptions of women’s health issues and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors
Dollar Photo Club

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.

Marcin Mincer / Wikimedia Commons

Ford is telling owners of about 2,900 Ranger small pickup trucks not to drive them after finding out that an exploding Takata air bag inflator killed a Ranger driver in West Virginia.

The death occurred July 1 in West Virginia, and Ford said it found out about it in December. After some investigation, the company determined that the truck's inflator was made on the same day as one that exploded and killed a South Carolina man driving a Ranger in 2016. So the company issued the urgent new recall for Rangers with inflators made on the same day.

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.

Doctor Patient Health Care Coverage
Fæ / wikimedia commons

Monongalia County has begun construction on a new healthcare facility in Morgantown.

The new, two-story, 16,000 square-feet building will house physician clinics and an emergency medical services substation.

Many of us make New Year's resolutions. Few of us realize them. Maybe it would help to reframe how we handle our resolutions by thinking of them as goals instead.

What health goals will you reach for in 2018? And which, if any, will you discuss with your doctor?

pxhere.com

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.

Anna's Army Raising Awareness for Rare Disease

Dec 25, 2017
Anna Gibson (right) talks during a Parkerburg South basketball game.
Melissa Gordon

One West Virginia community is making strides to find a cure for Friedreich's ataxia. Friedreich ataxia, or FA, is a rare degenerative neuromuscular disorder that affects one in 50,000 people in the United States.

Anna Gordon the summer before her freshman year of high school begun to notice that her balance was always off. The family searched for answers. After a year of testing, one geneticist changed the family forever when she wrote FA on a piece of paper and handed it to Missy Gordon, Anna’s mom.

Burned By Coal: Coalfield Communities Facing Electricity Price Hikes

Dec 23, 2017
Kentucky Power customers expressed frustration with proposed rate increases.
Mimi Pickering / WMMT

One evening this past November, angry customers and public officials filled a high school auditorium in Hazard, Kentucky, and took turns pleading with three members of the state’s public service commission.

Angie Hatton, a state legislator representing Letcher and Pike counties, presented the situation in historical terms. “This community that for two centuries has been powering our nation, we’re now struggling to keep our own lights on.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, roughly 107 million Americans will hit the road this weekend for Christmas -- the most ever for holiday travel, according to AAA. But getting in the car can be dangerous -- hazardous for your health, even. Kara Lofton reports on one phenomenon you might not be that familiar with -- exploding sunroofs.

Cigarette, tobacco
nikkytok / Dollar Photo Club

The number of adults who smoke cigarettes in West Virginia has significantly declined since 2011.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human resources released new data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey by DHHR’s Health Statistics Center that shows a decrease in smoking adults of almost 4 percent from 2011 to 2016.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the science is clear -- addiction runs in families. It’s not just opioids, but alcohol and even tobacco use, too. Kara Lofton takes a look at multigenerational addiction in West Virginia and the challenges families face in breaking the cycle.

Us & Them : His Name's DJ

Dec 6, 2017
Mitch Hanley

We revisit the story of “Steve,” a young New Hampshire man that we met back in the spring of 2016. In our episode called “The Changing Face of Heroin,” we followed him and his father as he reported for the last visit of a court ordered drug rehab program. As you can imagine, kicking a powerful opioid habit isn’t easy, but in many ways our guy remained committed to the program.

The Green Bank Telescope at Green Bank Observatory
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The National Science Foundation heard public comments as part of a process to consider changes to the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia.

Fæ / wikimedia commons

West Virginia health officials are encouraging providers to ensure their patients over six months old get flu vaccinations.

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