Health & Science

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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." 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Kentucky ranks in the top five highest number of drug overdoses in the country. It also has one of the highest of Hepatitis C, and while HIV/AIDS cases are declining the U.S., Kentucky holds steady with new cases. Much of this can be traced back to people who use IV drugs, using needles or syringes to inject opioids.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a new investigative documentary dissects how public health officials and environmental regulators at both the state and federal level handled the 2014 chemical spill, which left hundreds of thousands of people without potable water.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal report says the wall that crushed a miner to death in West Virginia earlier this year wasn't properly supported.

Leah Hill, a behavioral health fellow with the Baltimore City Health Department, displays a sample of Narcan nasal spray in Baltimore.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press file photo

On a Baltimore street corner, public health workers hand out a life-saving overdose antidote to residents painfully familiar with the ravages of America’s opioid epidemic. But the training wraps up quickly; all the naloxone inhalers are claimed within 20 minutes.

Dollar Photo Club

Health officials said the rate of babies born dependent on drugs has increased dramatically in West Virginia during the past five years.

In releasing county-level data for about half the state Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Resources said in a news release that the statewide rate for neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, was 50.6 per 1,000 live births last year.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, for many teens, the prom is the epitome of their high school experience. But for LGBTQ students, it can be a challenge to feel like they belong. So this year, some West Virginia students decided to start a new tradition. Molly Born reports.

Courtesy Office of the Surgeon General

  U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams threw his support behind syringe exchange services as an important tool to address the Ohio Valley’s high risk of needle-borne disease associated with the opioid epidemic.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, after Russian-backed hackers probed election-related systems in at least 21 states in 2016, election officials, whose focus traditionally on making sure polling places run smoothly and efficiently, now have to focus on protecting their computer systems. Although West Virginia wasn’t targeted in 2016, the secretary of state’s office is teaming up with the National Guard to take precautions. Dave Mistich takes a look at the partnership, which is paving the way for secure elections in the digital age.

Mackie Branham views a lung X-ray with Dr. James Brandon Crum, who was among the first physicians to note an uptick in black lung diagnoses
Howard Berkes / NPR

The American College of Radiologists, a professional organization representing radiologists, is asking Kentucky to repeal a new law that changes how coal miners receive benefits for black lung disease.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in an effort to get more people who are addicted to opioids into treatment, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has awarded a $260,000 grant to the Prestera Center to establish a team in Kanawha Valley that visits overdose patients and tries to convince them to get into treatment.  That program is the second of its kind in the state. Kara Lofton take us to Huntington where West Virginia's first quick response team was launched in December.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Ohio Valley’s opioid crisis has given rise to a new health threat: the region now has some of the nation’s highest risk areas for outbreaks of needle-borne disease such as HIV. Health experts say a needle exchange is a good defense, but exchange programs face public opposition. That was the case in Bourbon County, Kentucky, where local officials had twice rejected the idea. As part of the Ohio Valley ReSource series “Rural Risk,” Mary Meehan visited the county as people again considered a needle exchange.

Canabis Oil Medical Marijuana
Adobe Stock

West Virginia’s state treasurer says he’s seeking guidance from the U.S. Treasury secretary as he seeks solutions for collecting funds from the state’s medical marijuana program.

Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Greg Lee, Kentucky’s HIV/AIDS educator, starts the town hall on a somber note.

“How many people in this room know someone who has died of an overdose death?”

It is a standing-room only crowd. Most hands go up.

A study shows that McDowell County led West Virginia in the number of people hospitalized for opioid-related reasons in 2014.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a ratio of about 750 residents per 100,000 in McDowell County stayed at a hospital because of opioid abuse, including overdoses.

Kara Lofton

During the teacher strike a couple weeks ago, West Virginia educators were asking for two main things: a pay raise and for legislators to “fix PEIA.” While the prorgam’s finance board ultimately agreed to freeze proposed changes to the plan that would have increased costs, truly fixing PEIA on the long term might not be that simple.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, during the teacher strike a couple of weeks ago, educators were asking for two main things: a pay raise, and a fix for the public employees health insurance program -- PEIA. While the program’s finance board ultimately agreed to freeze proposed changes that would have increased insurance costs, truly fixing PEIA in the long term might not be that simple. Kara Lofton takes a look at the rising cost of health care nationally and some of the other factors that affect the state employee healthcare program.

Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

A health department in West Virginia wants an attorney to review new rules that a police chief established for a needle exchange program.

Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

West Virginia’s governor has signed legislation to limit opioid prescriptions that doctors can prescribe to treat acute pain.

Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday signed the bill that would limit such prescriptions to supplies lasting three, four or seven days, depending on who writes them.

Power Lines
Kreuzschnabel / wikimedia commons

Appalachian Power says it will take a few days for crews to restore electricity to thousands of West Virginia customers who lost power during a winter storm.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump’s call to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers grabbed headlines Monday. But public health officials are stressing other elements of the administration’s plan to address the opioid crisis. Aaron Payne spoke with the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control about plans for the Ohio Valley.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Center for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a study last month on the largest cluster of complicated black lung cases ever reported. Kara Lofton spoke with WVU School of Public Health physicians Carl Werntz and Anna Allen about the study and what it means for West Virginia.

Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press file photo

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, is providing free Black Lung exams in four West Virginia towns.

NIOSH’s Mobile Occupational Safety and Health Units will set up in Ceredo in Wayne County, Delbarton in Mingo County, and Man and Logan in Logan County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore attempts to finding solutions to the region’s opioid epidemic, and we hear a story from the Ohio Valley ReSource on the potential impacts of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is partnering with the Concord University’s Social Work and Sociology Department for the second annual Opioid Symposium and Job Fair.

Concord University
Sterling Snyder

UPDATE 3/20 5:30 PM - CANCELED: The symposium has been canceled due to weather. Organizers hope to reschedule this summer. 

cityofhuntington.com

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
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

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.

Health, doctor, nurse, mask, breathing, health insurance
Dollar Photo Club

Six more women will join a task force to seek a long-term funding solution to an insurance program for teachers and other public employees.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the latest appointments Monday after receiving complaints that his initial picks included only two women.

Jarek Tuszyński / Wikimedia Commons

National Park Service officials say the New River Gorge National River is one of the largest climbing areas in the eastern U.S. Officials are hosting an event to raise awareness about park climbing rules. 

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