Health & Science

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, yesterday, President Trump’s administration declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic.

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, host Jessica Lilly speaks with Dr. Petros Levounis, professor and chairman of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Levounis, who’s published a number of studies about the opioid crisis. Levounis says it was a “catastrophic medical mistake” that “opened the door to liberal prescribing of narcotics that essentially got people hooked”.

Trumps Cite Ohio Valley Experience In Opioid Emergency Plan

Oct 26, 2017
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President Donald Trump outlined on Thursday his long-awaited plan to address the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency. Part of that plan was based on experiences in the Ohio Valley region.

Ex-DEA Official Blames Congress, but His Own Agency Blessed Opioid Boom

Oct 24, 2017
Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

The Washington Post and 60 Minutes released an explosive report detailing how Congress hobbled the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to take down prescription opioid distributors. The exposé stars Joe Rannazzisi, who ran the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control from 2006 to 2015.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, if you talk to grandparents raising grandchildren, most will say it’s not an easy task. In addition to dealing with their own physical and mental health, they also have to manage the physical and mental health of their grandchildren – which often means dealing with anxiety, aggression and anger.

In the fourth installment of our series on grandfamilies, Kara Lofton reports that for some families, partnering with schools can make a big difference.

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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The analysis looked at the percentage of children with Adverse Childhood Experiences – commonly known as ACEs. West Virginia scored higher than the national average of 46 percent.


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Late last week, President Trump announced the federal government would stop Affordable Care Act subsidies to insurance companies, which the White House argues are illegal.

About 19,000 West Virginians received such subsidies in 2016, with an average monthly saving to their insurance bills of a about $100, according to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services data.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Late last week, President Trump announced the federal government would stop Affordable Care Act subsidies to insurance companies, which the White House argues are illegal.

While the move affects just a small slice of the overall insurance market, it's been met with widespread opposition from health advocacy groups, who say it’s an attempt to further destabilize the Affordable Care Act insurance markets.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

First Lady Melania Trump visited West Virginia yesterday to tour Lily’s Place – a facility in Huntington that serves babies born addicted to substances. Her visit sheds more attention on the Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis.

About 5 percent of all children born last year in West Virginia were affected by drugs -- the highest rate in the country. Aaron Payne has this report on efforts to treat both newborns and parents in the grip of addiction.

EpiPen, Mylan
Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

West Virginia health authorities say the state will get more than $1.9 million from a settlement with drug company Mylan Inc. over its emergency allergy injector.

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A new program that tracks drug overdoses will be discussed this week at Marshall University.

West Virginia health officer Dr. Rahul Gupta and others will lead a presentation of the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program on Thursday at the Memorial Student Center on Marshall's campus in Huntington.

Opioids On Trial: Can Lawsuits Help Fix The Addiction Crisis?

Sep 30, 2017
Opioids
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

  When health care and law enforcement officials met recently at a health policy forum in Lexington, Kentucky, to share ideas about the opioid crisis, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear listed some groups that have benefited from money won in a 2015 settlement with Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have the first of a series of stories about grandparents who take on the role of primary caregiver for their grandchildren. To begin the series, health reporter Kara Lofton talks with professor Megan Dolbin-MacNab -- a researcher studying grandparent-headed households.

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In 2014, more than a third of all children who were removed from their homes due to parental alcohol and drug use were placed with relatives. In many ways, that’s good news for kids. Research shows that grandfamilies protect against trauma and promote resilience. But the arrangement can also be incredibly difficult for the grandparents themselves - many of whom are older and dealing with their own challenges - especially when it comes to physical health.

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As the opioid crisis continues to impact Appalachia, children are being left behind. This morning we have the first of a series of stories about grandparents who take on the role of primary caregiver for their grandchildren. To begin the series, health reporter Kara Lofton talks with professor Megan Dolbin-MacNab - a researcher at Virginia Tech who is studying grandparent headed families - about the health impacts of this arrangement. 

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One of West Virginia's largest employers is expected to eliminate 300 jobs by the end of this year. Recently, the hospital announced how 40 of those jobs will be cut.

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Federal officials say two explosions that killed three workers at a West Virginia industrial site earlier this year were likely caused by unintended chemical reactions.

As the nation has debated the GOP proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, NPR member station reporters have been talking to people around the country about how the proposed changes in the health law would affect them.

Here are five of those stories:

photos by Kara Lofton, illustration by Jesse Wright

Harvey. Irma. Maria. The hurricane season’s super-charged storms have highlighted the importance of disaster planning, and the aftermath offers a fresh lesson in just how long and difficult recovery can be.

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Attorneys general from 35 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are urging health insurers to review their policies for pain management treatment to spark higher use of alternatives to opioid prescriptions.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Monday announced the bipartisan coalition's efforts in the ongoing fight to end opioid addiction.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, research on the benefits of breast-feeding continues to grow, with studies showing some positive health effects last into adulthood. Breast-feeding rates in the Ohio Valley, however, still lag behind the national average. Mary Meehan reports that efforts to help mothers in the region overcome breast-feeding challenges are beginning to pay off.

Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Edwin Hall is dressed in a footed onsie covered in the pastel shades of monkeys and hippos. Although Edwin’s just seven weeks old he already tells his mom when he’s hungry with a sharp and persistent yelp.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday it will award $144 million in grants across the country to prevent and treat opioid addiction. But West Virginia won’t see any of it.

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Nearly $3.7 million has been awarded to health centers and rural health organizations across West Virginia.

The funding is aimed to help increase access to both substance abuse and mental health services. It’ll provide health centers with support to hire new staff, provide training, and to purchase health information technology.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, lawmakers and union leaders are raising concerns about practices at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration amid an increase in coal fatalities. As Becca Schimmel reports, officials are asking questions about MSHA’s compliance assistance program.

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Data released Tuesday by the United States Census Bureau shows the Affordable Care Act continues to reduce the number of West Virginians without health insurance.

In 2016, 96,000 West Virginians lacked health insurance coverage – that’s down 12,000 from the previous year, according to a news release from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy – which studied the U.S. Census Bureau’s data.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the heroin and opioid crisis has reached stunning and heartbreaking heights across the nation...and Huntington, West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate sits at ten times the national average. A new film is out today that documents the severity of the problem – but also shines a light on the tireless work of three women trying to fight against a wave of desperation in their hometown. Produced in part by the Center for Investigative Reporting, Heroin(e) premieres today on Netflix. Dave Mistich spoke with film maker Elaine McMillion Sheldon about her film and what it’s like to document something that has affected so many of us in one way or another.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Experts and advocates gathered in Morgantown yesterday to talk about policy issues related to children’s health care. As Kara Lofton reports, most of the conversation was centered around the Children’s Health Insurance Program -- also known as CHIP.

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West Virginia University plans to host what it's calling a summit meeting on health care policy for children on Thursday.

Scheduled speakers include former U. S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV and former U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary and now American University President Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

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The director of West Virginia’s new Office of Drug Control Policy starts his job on Tuesday, and he wants to get out into communities to see what they’re doing and to offer the state’s help in fighting the opioid epidemic.

Jim Johnson tells Charleston Gazette-Mail that one of his first priorities is to halt West Virginia’s rising death toll from prescription drugs.

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