CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – This morning the Charleston Quick Response Team took a walk around the Capital City with the Mayor and a special guest.

Director of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta, who is from West Virginia, joined Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin and the Charleston QRT team in an effort to raise awareness of drug addiction and all the ways the QRT specializes in saving lives. The walk started at Washington Street East and Leon Sullivan Way.

Mayor Goodwin says the walk also reflects a bigger purpose than creating awareness in just Charleston.

“We are lucky in West Virginia that we have somebody like Dr. Gupta who can be from his lips to the president’s ears of what we need here in all of Appalachia,” said Goodwin. “Because this isn’t just about Charleston, West Virginia. This is about the Mountain State, and this is about our entire country.”

Gupta said working to eliminate stigma about addiction was another goal of the walk, and a goal to help people who are dealing with addiction.

“Helping people recognize that, you know, you’re all just one of us and we’re just one of you in that way. That’s what helps eliminate stigma. That’s what helps meet people where they are,” said Dr. Gupta.

Following the walk, Gupta joined legislators, state and county health officials, physicians and agency representatives for a roundtable event along with the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine to discuss the challenges West Virginia faces in preventing substance abuse and overdoses and what the state needs to overcome those issues.