West Virginia leaders participated in a national subcommittee hearing examining the opioid epidemic in America and highlighting the ways West Virginia can help.
West Virginia is one of the hardest hit states when it comes to the opioid epidemic. However, the mountain state has also made positive strides when it comes to finding soutions and programs that make a differnce in the lives of those impacted most.
“Rather than hide our head in the sand and say we don’t have a problem, we are facing this problem head on,” said WV Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
Senator Capito invited West Virginia University Director of Addicition, Dr. James Berry, to participate in the national subcommittee hearing at the nation’s capitol in March.
The hearing examined the opioid epidemic across the nation, focusing particularily on prevention, treatment, and recovery.
“We’re not just talking about the generation thats addicted — we’re also talking about a second generation – the forgotten generation — of children impacted as well,” Dr. Berry said while addressing the group.
With West Virginia being one of the most impacted states, Senator Capito believes that it is important to have the mountain state’s voice heard when searching for solutions.
Dr. Berry said he would like to expand access to evidence based treatment, including ready access to medication, psychological therapy, and peer support groups. He also said there is a need to increase the workforce.
While there is no quick fix, Dr. Berry would like to focus on long term solutions. Something that Senator Capito believes West Virginia has done a good job with thus far, with programs like Lily’s Place and research programs at WVU’s medical school.
“We are fighting a good fight and we are in it for the long haul,” Senator Capito told 13 News. “It’s important that WV’s voice is heard.”