Health & Science

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

Opiate Addiction Sometimes Begins in the Womb

Nov 24, 2015
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Neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS as it’s known in the medical community, is yet another problem that stems from the heroin epidemic ravaging West Virginia. NAS occurs in newborns exposed to opiates while still in the womb. When they’re born, they feel the full effects of withdrawal.

Health care professionals are now trying to come up with ways to track and deal with the problem more effectively.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Nov. 20 marks the anniversary of the 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster, which killed 78 men. It was the worst U.S. mine disaster in 50 years. On Sunday, a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the memorial of the Farmington Mine Disaster.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two weeks after President Obama’s visit to West Virginia, aimed at putting the spotlight on substance abuse issues across the country, the state’s leaders are still talking about ways to combat the issue.

At a forum in Martinsburg, Governor Tomblin met with those struggling with the disease and others trying to provide assistance in the Eastern Panhandle.

National Governors Association

With President Obama’s visit to Charleston just two short weeks ago, people and organizations across the state have responded to the President’s call to fight drugs and overdose deaths in West Virginia.

On Wednesday, Governor Tomblin continues this fight and travels to Martinsburg to host a summit with law enforcement and the community on substance abuse in the area.

Doctor Patient Health Care Coverage
Fæ / wikimedia commons

Acuity Specialty Hospital Ohio Valley plans a $1 million expansion of its long-term acute care facility in Wheeling.

The West Virginia Health Care Authority has issued a certificate of need for the project. The certificate allows Acuity to add 16 beds to its 13-bed facility within Wheeling Hospital.

A date for the expansion hasn't been set. Acuity director Joe Garcuccio told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that the project is in the planning stage.

Gabrielle Marshall

A group of students from the University of Notre Dame just came to West Virginia for fall break. Instead of relaxing with friends, as many college students do, these guys got a taste of life in a food desert.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University hosted a panel discussion this week about the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The new rule seeks to reduce carbon emissions in the US by 37 percent by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The MBA program at Shepherd University hosted a panel discussion in Martinsburg Wednesday night that drew in a large crowd. The topic – the Affordable Care Act. The goal of the discussion was to look at the good, the bad, and the unknown and discuss how it directly affects West Virginians.

Dozens of people attended the event at the historic McFarland House in Martinsburg. Like most controversial pieces of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has received plenty of attention since it was first enacted in 2010 – good and bad.

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).

Jessica Lilly

Prosecutors continued to call witnesses on the tenth day of the trial against former Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship. Prosecutor Steve Ruby picked back up with questioning of Mine Safety and Health inspector Keith McElroy. McElroy was one of the investigators of the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion that killed 29 men.

Sharon Shlomo / PikiWiki

On Friday and Saturday, the Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Moorefield will host the first Ag Tech Showcase event in the state.

The goal of the new showcase is to explore the benefits new and emerging technologies could offer small and medium-sized farms.

courtesy of Mike Breiding

Researchers at West Virginia University are looking for clues about West Virginia's climate history -- by combing through old journals of naturalists who spent time in the state's forests and hills.

Stream Lab
@hunterguire via Twitter

West Virginia is no stranger to issues surrounding water quality. In recent years, reports on the effects of acid mine drainage and the questioned safety of fracking waste have made headlines. 

Andy Todd

Food deserts: it’s more than just an urban issue. Hey, we all have to eat. This week, we’re bringing you an encore presentation from the Inside Appalachia archives about Appalachian food deserts.  In Appalachia, where green forests grow abundantly, food is scarce for many. Throughout Appalachia, grocery stores are disappearing. This week on Inside Appalachia we're looking at some ways communities are resolving to take matters in their own hands.

Drill cuttings dumped at WV landfill.
Bill Hughes

There are lots of federal regulations governing what businesses can legally dump into water, the ground, or release into the air. But the gas industry is getting around a lot of those regulations. The oil and gas industry enjoys exemptions from seven federal laws, including one that is supposed to protect human health from the hazards of waste disposal. Other states have passed their own laws regulating this waste to compensate. But it’s a looser system in West Virginia.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Brent Walker.
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Booth Goodwin brought together local first responders, state health officials and substance abuse treatment specialists Tuesday to celebrate the success he sees in his district in combating drug abuse. 

Goodwin said his office intends to continue enforcing federal laws that prohibit the sale of narcotics, but now, he and his colleagues are also focusing on the treatment side, looking at ways to curb the demand for the drugs. 

401(K) 2012 /

West Virginia public workers could face another round of health insurance benefit cuts.

Kanawha County Schools

Sixteen schools in eight West Virginia counties will share more than $12,200 in grants for sustainability projects.

Drill cuttings dumped at WV landfill.
Bill Hughes

In the growing wake of the natural gas boom, West Virginia has been trying to figure out what exactly to do with waste generated by the oil and gas industry.