March 27, 2019

Fighting Addiction | The Bluefield Daily Telegraph

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed last week that West Virginia will receive $14.6 million in federal funding to help fight the deadly opioid crisis. Given the rampant abuse of prescription narcotics in the deep south counties, every dollar that is received to combat this horrific scourge is welcomed and must be maximized to its fullest.

According to the region’s congressional delegation in Washington, the grant funding will be used to supplement the first-year funding of the State Opioid Response program and expand access to medication-assisted treatment. This includes using the three FDA approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, addressing unmet treatment needs, and reducing opioid-related deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery activities for opioid use disorder, U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., said.

“This funding is critical in the fight against addiction,” Miller said. “Southern West Virginia is ground zero for the opioid epidemic, and access to treatment and recovery is fundamental to prevent and reverse the impacts of this crisis.”

The funding is part of legislation signed into law last year by President Donald Trump as part of his national opioid initiative, which called for expanding access to compassionate, evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a press release.

In a separate release, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., applauded the funding.

“This funding will enable West Virginia to provide our citizens with the help that they need in order to combat the opioid epidemic in our state,” Manchin said. “Our citizens deserve the opportunity to receive treatment.”

Capito added, “The drug epidemic has devastated so many families and so many communities across West Virginia, and federal funding like this plays an important role in helping us fight back against the opioid crisis.”

The additional help from Washington is necessary and long overdue. But the struggle to stem the opioid crisis must continue.

Local, state and federal governments working in conjunction with law enforcement, the private sector and non-profits must continue with an aggressive and coordinated response to overcome this crisis. Inaction is no longer an option. 


By:  Staff Writers