Exploring Challenges Of Higher Education, Addiction And Homelessness This West Virginia Morning


On this West Virginia Morning, we consider the challenges colleges and universities are facing as the fall semester approaches. Also, in this show, we visit Kermit in Mingo County. About ten years ago, this small town of about 350 people saw a flood of pain pills enter the community and devastate many people’s lives.

There have been a lot of questions about what public school in West Virginia will look like in the fall, but there’s also quite a few questions about higher education. Colleges and universities have been releasing updates on their websites in recent months about what they’re doing to prepare for a return to campuses in the fall — but uncertainty remains. Liz McCormick brings us the story.

About ten years ago, at the peak of the opioid crisis, drug companies sent 12 million hydrocodone pills to Kermit, West Virginia – a town of about 350 people. Cars would line up – bumper to bumper – at one pharmacy with people waiting to pick up pain pills. The so-called pain clinics of a decade ago are gone. In their place, a continued need for addiction treatment and recovery resources. Lawsuits against big pharmaceutical companies continue to bring in settlements, but so far, Kermit hasn’t seen any money from the litigation.

On the latest episode of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s, Us & Them podcast, host Trey Kay visits Kermit to see how the town is recovering from the pill dumping scourge. Many people’s lives were devastated by the epidemic and people like Sister Therese Carew are helping many of them with the difficult work of getting back on their feet. Carew heads Christian Help, a non-profit organization that provides resources so that unemployed and underemployed can avoid homelessness. Her operation is located just a stone’s throw away from the site of one of Kermit’s more infamous high-volume pill distributing pharmacies.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

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