CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — With the highest overdose death rate in the nation, West Virginia will be hosting several substance abuse forums over the next few weeks, and public input is needed. One idea is the expansion of drug treatment for prison and jail inmates so they can re-enter the workforce and stay sober when they are released.
“Fortunately we’ve invested in a program that will put people back to work and try to get them through those hurdles that they face for so long. So hopefully we see some results from that,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D-Kanawha).
“Every bit of money spent on this is money well-spent. We’re turning former tax burdens into taxpayers,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D-Kanawha).
Another big concern is that lots of money is being spent on medical treatments like Suboxone, a heroin substitute. Some want abstinence treatment such as 12-step programs funded, even ones based at places of worship.
“The trend these days is for a lot of the federal and for the state money to be tied to medically assisted treatment. And that’s great for some people but I do think we need to provide for more options. Sometimes people just need a safe place to live while they recover, while they go to meetings,” said Del. Pushkin.
In addition to prevention and treatment, some are advocating for tougher law enforcement to combat the opioid crisis.
Over the next few weeks, there will be a half-dozen substance abuse forums across the State of West Virginia. The goal is to generate ideas that may lead to legislation on drug abuse issues, when the legislature returns here in January.