Watch Obama's Addiction Town Hall Meeting in Charleston

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama speaks in Charleston Wednesday about West Virginia’s epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse.Obama also listens to parents, health and law enforcement issues about their struggles with drug abuse. He also discusses his proposal to increase addiction treatment funding by $133 million.

Read Now: President Obama Announces New Federal Drug Policies

Updated 3:52 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015


Updated 3:50 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama wraps up the town hall meeting by commending local law enforcement and the parents involved in today’s discussion. 

  @barackobama just wrapped up a community discussion on drug addiction. Visit for an archived stream and more coverage later in the day. A photo posted by West Virginia Public News (@wvpublicnews) on Oct 21, 2015 at 12:48pm PDT



Updated 3:40 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015



Updated 3:30 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama:

“For a long time our goal has been to deal with supply side. And we’re not backing off of that.”

“We were under investing in the demand side with the prevention and treatment that’s so necessary.”

He says they’re proposing an additional $133 million in enhanced treatment programs. 

Updated 3:20 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015


Updated 3:15 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

Dr. Michael Brumage is Executive Director and Health Officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Dept. He’s been on the job 79 days. Says he knew mountaineers would take this challenge head-on because that’s the kind of people that are in the state.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will begin their own harm reduction program in Charleston in about 6 weeks, following the lead of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

Requires collaborative approach to be able to fix things. 

Updated 3:10 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

Cary Dixon is the mother of a recovering addict. She spoke for families that deal with an addicted family member. When they realize their family members are going through this there is initially embarrassment. Relieved at first when family members want treatment, but disappointed when they have to wait to get into treatment. She says they sleep better at night knowing children are incarcerated. She’s laid awake at night planning his funeral. 

  The full panel for President Obama's community center meeting on drug abuse. A photo posted by WMUL (@wmul_radio) on Oct 21, 2015 at 12:05pm PDT


Updated 3:00 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama:

“In 2012 259 million pain medicine prescriptions were written. Enough for every adult.” 

“Four in five heroin users started out misusing prescription drugs.” 

“Addiction can happen to a coal miner, construction worker, a cop who takes it for a work related injury or a doctor who writes the prescription.” 

“We can’t fight this without eliminating stigma.” 

Obama says rather than spending more money on putting addicts in jail, we can use the money to help them and use the savings on getting those that are supplying the drugs put away. 

“This is an illness and we have to treat it as such.”

Obama mentions policy changes outlined in memorandum released this morning. 

Obama says the goal today is realize this is happening to families all over the country. He says it’s happening in every neighborhood in the country. He says the goal is to shine a spotlight on the subject and hopefully get each person in attendance to do something about it when they leave. 

Updated 2:45 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama introduced to packed East End Family Resource Center. 


Updated 2:30 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama has arrived at the East End Family Resource Center. Senator Joe Manchin to introduce the topic.

Senator Joe Manchin:

“We have an epidemic that we haven’t done anything about.”

“Until we look at drug use as an illness more than a crime, we’re never going to cure it.” 

  President #Obama arrives in Charleston on Wednesday afternoon for a community forum on heroin and prescription drug abuse. #wvgazettemail photo by Christian Tyler Randolph. A photo posted by Charleston Gazette-Mail (@wvgazettemail) on Oct 21, 2015 at 12:00pm PDT


Updated 2:08 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama has exited Air Force One and is now headed to the East End.

  #potus Presidential motorcade on the East End of Charleston. #obama #presidentobama A video posted by Mark Wolfe (@markwolfedesign) on Oct 21, 2015 at 11:50am PDT



Updated 1:54 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

As the public waits for the arrival of President Barack Obama…

He’s tweeting about the epidemic from Air Force One. 

Updated 1:10 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Barack Obama is aboard Air Force One on the way to Charleston, where things are already set up at Yeager Airport.


Updated 12:50 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015



Updated 12:22 p.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

Two hours before President Obama will be in Charleston’s East End, it’s already getting busy.



Updated: 10:03 a.m. Wednesday October 21, 2015

President Obama issues memorandum on prescription drug abuse and heroin use. 

  • Among the items in the memorandum. The President will require more training for doctors and nurses who work for the federal government on how to properly prescribe opioid medications, like oxycodone.
  • Federal agencies that provide health insurance will have to review their health plans to see if there are restrictions that keep those seeking care from accessing medication treatments for opoid abuse, like Suboxone. 

These only apply to federal agencies, not private doctors or insurance plans, but the White House hopes to set an example. 
For the full memorandum visit link below:

Obama Opioid Memorandum