MORGANTOWN, WV (WBOY) — Cities across North Central West Virginia are observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
The Monongalia County Health Department, along with four other counties, placed 50 purple flags outside their headquarters.
The flags commemorate those who lost their lives because of drug use in North Central West Virginia.
“I think it’s a really good visual,” said Brittany Irick, MCHD Special Grant Coordinator. “It shows how substantial this issue is, and if you look at those flags — that’s one person. Each flag is one person that has lost their life, so we hope that this brings awareness to the community about how serious this issue is.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia is number one in overdose deaths per capita in the U.S.
On average 300 people die each year from drug overdoses in northern West Virginia.
“I think this is something that the community is mostly already aware of. There’s a lot of stigma around it, so we think this is a good opportunity to show that this is a disease,” Irick said. “This is a disease that can effect anyone, just like any other disease. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, what ever it might be. This can effect anyone and we need to get over that stigma of saying that they don’t deserve the same services and treatment that all the other diseases get.”
Other cities observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week include:
For more information on the week, go to the office of crime victims’ website.