WVU Extension service tackles opioid epidemic

Published: Sep. 17, 2018 at 6:00 PM EDT
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The drug crisis in West Virginia, fueled by opioids. The WVU Extension Service holding a summit to help find solutions.

"We're learning a lot about the nitty-gritty of the issue, how is affecting individuals, families, communities," said Elaine Bowen, Extension Specialist for WVU Extension Service.

Dozens met at Jackson's Mill on Monday to hear from experts on the tragedy that's not only affecting many in West Virginia but across the nation.

"All these problem areas are in some way affected by families struggling, communities struggling," she said.

The question they asked is 'why West Virginia?'

Some of the reasons:

Physicians over prescribing and poor socioeconomic conditions.

But the eye opener in the room:

Physically demanding jobs like mining and gas sometimes lead to increased injuries, and many needing pain relievers.

Doctor Kevin Blankenship, founder and medical director of Jacob's Ladder Addiction Recovery Program in Preston County emphasized the state's dilemma to substance misuse.

His program was featured in the Netflix documentary "Recovery Boys," and he has worked to save many lives.

And he hopes others can do the same.

"Brainstorm possibilities, ways our organization can take some positive actions," said Bowen.