West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors
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Updated Friday January 12 at 4:18 p.m.

State health officials are proposing a multifaceted plan for confronting the drug crisis killing hundreds of West Virginians each year, one that would require action by everyone from lawmakers to doctors to judges to emergency responders to the general public.

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Health officials in West Virginia say a plan to combat the state's opioid crisis has been released for public comment.

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Throughout the Ohio Valley and West Virginia, thousands of children are in foster care -- and the opioid epidemic is sending thousands more to join them. In fact, in just the past year, West Virginia's foster care system alone saw an increase of 1,000 children entering care.

In 2016, West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with the Holbens, a former-foster family in Kearneysville, Jefferson County, to shed light on the struggles the opioid epidemic brings on foster care. We now check back in with that family and explore what lies ahead in combating this crisis.

Be sure to tune in for more on this subject during our nightly television program, The Legislature Today beginning January 11, 2018.

Cigarette, tobacco
nikkytok / Dollar Photo Club

The number of adults who smoke cigarettes in West Virginia has significantly declined since 2011.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human resources released new data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey by DHHR’s Health Statistics Center that shows a decrease in smoking adults of almost 4 percent from 2011 to 2016.

Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Thursday steps for an opioid response plan to combat the opioid epidemic. DHHR is asking West Virginians to help develop the plan through public comment and recommendations over the next 15 days.

Lyme, tick, Lyme disease, IDSA, infectious disease, WVU
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Tick-borne Lyme disease has spread across West Virginia over the past six years with cases reported in 52 of the state's 55 counties, according to state health officials.

Most cases are reported in the northern and eastern panhandles probably because of their proximity to the high-incidence states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the Department of Health and Human Resources said.

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced it has started drug screening benefits applicants of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

DHHR said in a news release it began screening people who apply for TANF, also known as WV WORKS, early last week.

Medical Marijuana
John Locher / AP Photo

West Virginia health officials have released an online survey for people interested in obtaining medical marijuana.

A Department of Health & Human Resources news release says the survey results will be shared with the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board in December.

Naloxone
Charles Krupa / AP Photo

State health officials say they have received federal approval to expand addiction treatment for West Virginians covered by Medicaid.

The waiver from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was requested to improve care and outcomes by expanding services for those diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

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.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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Three substance use disorder programs in West Virginia are receiving $1.6 million in funding from the state.

The funding was announced by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.

Jim Justice
Steve Helber / AP

Gov. Jim Justice named five members to the newly reconstituted West Virginia Health Care Authority, which a new law places under the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

West Virginia University and the state Department of Health and Human Resources have provided park rangers at New River Gorge National River with overdose rescue kits.

The university says in the last decade, there have been five overdoses at the park, none of them fatal. More than a million people visit annually.

A nursery where drug-affected babies are treated at Lily’s Place in Huntington, W.Va.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

A West Virginia hospital is no longer delivering babies.

State Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that Welch Community Hospital's long-time obstetrician has retired.

Medals, Medallions, Harpers Ferry
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s a group based in Jefferson County, West Virginia focused not only on improving health and wellness but also on incorporating the local community and history into that health experience.

A lawsuit filed by two former West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources employees who said they faced retaliation for whistleblowing has been settled.

Former department executives Susan Perry and Jennifer Taylor filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the agency's former acting secretary Rocco Fucillo, deputy secretary Warren Keefer and Bryan Rosen.

Tim Miley
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is bypassing the committee process, putting it on the fast track for a vote in the House. Senate Bill 386 was read for a first time on the floor Thursday night after a 54 to 40 procedural vote to bring it straight to the floor.

The vote has been called historic in the chamber. But several delegates argued pulling the bill out of the committee process was the only way members would get to put the medical marijuana bill to a vote this session.

Mike Folk
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A senate bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is being fast-tracked through the West Virginia House of Delegates. Senate Bill 386, which passed out of the state Senate Wednesday night on a 28 to 6 vote, would create the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing medical marijuana in West Virginia.

Energy, heat, money, thermostat, heat pump, furnace
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 West Virginia's Department of Health and Human Resources says it will accept applications for emergency low-income energy assistance starting Monday until funds are exhausted.

The federally funded program helps eligible residents who have a termination notice in paying home heating bills.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC/ Dr. Terrence Tumpey

West Virginia's health officer says the flu outbreak has increased statewide and is expected to peak in a few weeks.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, state health officer and commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health, says flu activity is widespread in the state.

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