West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump is canceling a previously scheduled trip to Morgantown and a new tool aiming to map overdoses gets attention at Marshall University this week.  

Also, West Virginia has the fourth highest rate in the nation for grandparents raising grandchildren - an arrangement often referred to as “grandfamilies.” And the number of grandfamilies here is on the rise. Most experts blame the opioid epidemic for that. While this arrangement usually benefits children, it can be incredibly stressful for the grandparents. In the second part of our series exploring this subject, Kara Lofton takes a look into the mental health of those involved. 

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors, narcotics
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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
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

A biologist is studying how some insects might be adapting to a changing climate. Scott Hotaling is studying stoneflies that live in glacial regions in the north, and how these animals might be evolving. We'll hear about a grant the city of Huntington is receiving to help first responders combat the drug abuse epidemic. 

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Nearly $2 million in federal grants will help one West Virginia city combat a drug abuse epidemic.

The city of Huntington says in a news release that two grants will be used for a program that assists overdose victims within 72 hours.

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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. 

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

The West Virginia judicial system is joining a regional effort to combat opioid abuse, and a Kanawha County Circuit Judge will lead a multidisciplinary team that will work with seven other states.

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A bipartisan coalition of 37 states and territories are calling on health insurance companies to help find solutions to the nation’s opioid crisis.

West Virginia and Kentucky attorney generals Patrick Morrisey and Andy Beshear announced the coalition in press conference at Marshall University Monday afternoon.

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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.

Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose

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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28 counties in West Virginia are at risk for a potential HIV outbreak, according to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the vulnerable communities are rural areas in southern West Virginia. Recently, more than $1 million in federal funding has been awarded to a West Virginia University project aimed at preventing an HIV outbreak in southern West Virginia. 

Courtesy of Netflix / by Rebecca Kiger

Updated 1/23/2018: Elaine McMillion Sheldon's film Heroin(e) has been nominated for an Oscar in the short documentary category. 

Original Story: 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.

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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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Millennials may be less likely to use opioids to manage chronic pain than older generations, a new nationwide survey has found.

One in five millennials who used opioids to manage pain say they regretted it.

Instead, millennials report preferring lifestyle changes to improve pain management such as exercising, eating right, quitting smoking and losing weight.

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human resources announced it will use $22 million in settlement monies received from drug distributors to combat the drug epidemic in West Virginia. 

The money came from a suit that found defendant drug companies failed to detect, report and stop the flood of suspicious prescription drug orders into the state. The defendants denied any liability, but the parties agreed to the settlement to avoid litigation.

Opioid Emergency: What the Ohio Valley Needs to Combat Crisis

Aug 21, 2017
Rebecca Kiger

The opioid crisis gripping the Ohio Valley is now, according to President Donald Trump, a national emergency. But more than a week after the president made that announcement, state and local health officials in the region told the Ohio Valley ReSource that they have little information about what that emergency declaration actually means, or what additional tools it might provide.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors
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Over $1 million in federal funding has been awarded to a project aimed at addressing the opioid crisis in West Virginia.

The project is based in southern West Virginia, and it’s spearheaded by West Virginia University. The goal is to develop comprehensive ways to prevent and treat the consequences of opioid abuse, such as overdose, HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases.

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President Donald Trump's Commission on the Opioid Crisis recently recommended that the president declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The commission said that such a declaration could free up money to fight the epidemic.

Back in April, we aired a special report about the opioid epidemic here in Appalachia. So this week, we’re going to revisit that story to remember how some Appalachians became addicted, and what a battle for sobriety can be like.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the small town of Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle is often referred to as a gateway into West Virginia. It was a prominent place during the American Civil War-- the site of John Brown’s Raid. Today, it’s home to the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park as well as nearly 300 residents.

The park, along with the commercial area of the town, sees thousands of visitors each year from around the country and all over the world. In June, Harpers Ferry elected a new mayor –Wayne Bishop. Liz McCormick sat down with Bishop to hear how he plans to lead the iconic West Virginia town.