Heroin

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Updated on Friday, November 3 at 2:39 p.m.

West Virginia police say lab results on a substance found in a child's trick-or-treat bag came back as a derivative of marijuana, not heroin as originally thought.

Courtesy of Netflix / by Rebecca Kiger

As most know, the heroin and opioid crisis has reached stunning and heartbreaking heights across the nation. Huntington, West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate sits at ten times the national average.

A federal judge has rejected a plea agreement between prosecutors and a West Virginia man, citing the state's deadly drug crisis.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Judge Joseph R. Goodwin rejected the deal on Monday between prosecutors and 38-year-old Charles York Walker Jr. A federal grand jury indicted Walker in September 2016 on multiple charges including heroin and fentanyl distribution.

The first hearing has been held in a lawsuit involving drug wholesale distributors accused of fueling West Virginia's heroin epidemic.

Tuesday in Charleston a legal team for several West Virginia counties argued damages are necessary for opioids' harmful impact on communities, alleging the firms breached their duty under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to oversee suspicious orders of prescriptions entering the state over the past several years.

Rebecca Kiger

This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk with Marcus Murrow, a West Virginia native who’s telling the story of southern West Virginia, and the surprising way cultural divides are sometimes bridged in and around Appalachia. He's working on a film called Staring up from the Mine Shaft.

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Officials are adding up the numbers after 14 people overdosed from a bad batch of heroin in one day.

Mason County Emergency Medical Services responded to 20 overdoses in total last week.

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More than 22,000 West Virginians with substance use disorders have gained health coverage through Medicaid Expansion, according to a report released earlier this month in National Health Law Program. Medicaid Expansion was a voluntary provision of the Affordable Care Act.

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The United States Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday that the Charleston to Huntington area is the next to be a part of a ground breaking initiative.

The program is called the 360 strategy. Its purpose is to help cities dealing with the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic and the violent crimes that are associated with it. The new strategy focuses on integrating law enforcement, diversion control, education and prevention and community outreach.

Federal authorities say an Ohio man responsible for more than two dozen drug overdoses in Huntington, West Virginia, has pleaded guilty in federal court to distributing heroin.

Authorities say 22-year-old Bruce Lamar Griggs of Akron, also known as "Benz," faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing April 10.

Flood, Clendenin
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A National Weather Service meteorologist called it a "1-in-1,000-year" storm. By the time it was over, 23 West Virginians were dead.

Flooding that ravaged the state in late June was voted the No. 1 news story in 2016 in West Virginia by Associated Press member newspapers and broadcasters.

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Drug wholesalers sent 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into West Virginia over six years, according to an investigation by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Meanwhile, 1,728 West Virginians died from overdoses of these two powerful painkillers.

Who let it happen? Investigative reporter Eric Eyre, of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, answered our questions about his series on The Front Porch.

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What were the top stories in West Virginia from 2016? We searched our archives from the past year and compiled this list of the most popular stories.

A federal prosecutor in West Virginia says 18 people have been indicted in a drug distribution network involved in moving large amounts of heroin from Baltimore to the Martinsburg area.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced Tuesday that 31-year-old Steven Robinson of Baltimore is accused of orchestrating a drug trafficking operation, while 25-year-old Terrard Ansor of Baltimore and 28-year-old Brittany Brooks of Randallstown, Pennsylvania, are accused of assisting Robinson. Fifteen others are accused of helping redistribute heroin.

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Marshall University is boosting its fight against the opioid addiction epidemic. The University has created a coalition to coordinate strategies with the city of Huntington, as well as a new research position to study treatment options for addicts. 

Groups Come Together, Offer Insight on Opioid Fight

Dec 13, 2016
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The group West Virginians for Affordable Health Care hosted a conference Tuesday at Marshall University focused on the state's opioid epidemic.

The conference titled “Innovative Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic,” brought together groups from all over the state as well as national experts to discuss ways of dealing with the epidemic. Groups like the Cabell-Huntington Health Department presented their needle exchange effort and Martinsburg Police presented their Martinsburg Initiative. Dr. Anita Everett is the Chief Medical Officer for the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and she was the featured speaker. Everett said it’s great to a see a state of communities trying new things and wanting to work together.

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Martinsburg officials have voted to allow the establishment of a proposed detox and crisis center after hours of heated debate.

The Journal reports that the Martinsburg Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously Tuesday to grant a special zoning exception for the facility.

Patrick Morrisey, Mike DeWine, Andy Beshear
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

Attorneys General from Ohio and Kentucky joined West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in Huntington Thursday to discuss the opioid crisis plaguing all three states.

Attorneys General Mike DeWine, of Ohio, and Andy Beshear, of Kentucky, joined Morrisey at the New Life Church in Huntington. It’s one of a series of meetings being held to increase cross-border cooperation in finding solutions to problems stemming from the opioid epidemic. Beshear said the epidemic has touched everyone. 

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Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday that starting in January, doctors who prescribe pain pills will be required to follow federal prescribing guidelines. 

The move was made in an attempt to lower state overuse and abuse rates. According to Rahul Gupta, the West Virginia state health officer and the commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia has the highest rate of prescription opioids per capita in the nation. 

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The sound of sirens in Cabell County, West Virginia, has a good chance of indicating an overdose these days.

The county’s Emergency Medical Service had responded to 622 overdose calls this year as of September 24, according to ES Director Gordon Merry. Last year it was more than 900 overdoses, which surpassed the total of the previous three years combined.

A trial date has been set for an Ohio man who has pleaded not guilty to heroin distribution in connection to 27 overdoses in a five-hour span in a single West Virginia city.

The Herald-Dispatch reports 22-year-old Bruce Lamar Griggs of Akron, Ohio, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to drug distribution charges following the Aug. 15 spate of overdoses in Huntington. At least one man died.

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