CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There is a new nationwide effort to battle the opioid epidemic, and one of the places it is targeting is the hard-hit Appalachian region. Among the efforts is a big push for parents to talk to their kids.
The initiative is called “The Greatest Gift is a Conversation” and is sponsored by Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA), which is led by former eight-term Congresswoman Mary Bono, widow of singer-turned-Congressman Sonny Bono.
Bono’s group is urging more education, prevention, treatment and law enforcement action across the nation. But Bono says the most important prevention measure is for parents to have a heart-to-heart talk with their children about the dangers. Still, many fail to have that talk.
“You all in West Virginia know very well about this problem, especially with prescription drugs and prescription drug abuse. But now it’s morphed into the fentanyl crisis which is far more deadly than anyone ever imagined. So that’s what we are seeing now, the fentanyl problem,” said former Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA), now with MAPDA.
With West Virginia having the highest overdose death rate in the nation, the group is urging people to carry Narcan, to reverse the effects of an overdose. As of Sept. 1, Narcan is legal in the United States for over-the-counter sales.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were more than 105,000 overdose deaths in the past year.