Harm Reduction – A Community Conversation

LOST RIVER, W.Va. February 1, 2021 – The Community Education Group (CEG) will be convening a statewide roundtable on the topic of harm reduction in West Virginia on Monday, February 8th, 2021 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.

This open panel discussion will be moderated by CEG’s Founder & Executive Director, A. Toni Young, and will feature local and state elected officials, private business representatives, public health experts, and harm reduction providers from across the state.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about what ‘harm reduction’ actual is, whom it serves, and the impacts it has on our communities,” said Ms. Young. “After two decades of dealing with the opioid crisis in West Virginia, emotions are fraught and tempers are high. This roundtable is meant to bring all of the stakeholders to the table to come up with some answers and recommendations.”

This roundtable discussion will occur during the regular monthly meeting of the West Virginia Statewide Stakeholders Coalition (WVSSC), a coalition of over 100 individuals, Community-Based Organizations, government agencies and departments, healthcare providers, insurers, and pharmaceutical partners that meets on the second Monday of each month (excluding federal holidays). Each meeting averages between 40-60 attendees, making this one of the best-attended coalitions in West Virginia.

Registration is open to the public, and the WVSSC invites community members, community organizations and businesses, and healthcare providers, alike, to participate in this important roundtable. Those interested in attending my register using the following link:https://cutt.ly/JoinWVSSC

All questions for the panelist should be submitted in advance to:

The Community Education Group (CEG) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with offices in Lost River, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., working to eliminate disparities in health outcomes and improve public health in disadvantaged populations and under-served communities

Register For February

Download Press Release

Join The WVSSC

West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, Inc. Launches Project to Discern Community Perceptions of Harm Reduction Efforts

During January 2021, the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, Inc. will conduct an analysis of community opinions on SUD, harm reduction, and syringe exchange. The project is not intended to assess or evaluate any specific program but will assess community perceptions and attitudes and determine gaps that exist in addressing SUD (specifically in Kanawha County). The research will include an online (anonymous) short-survey individuals can complete. The survey will be open to the public via the Institute’s website, www.wvdii.org, from January 8 through 22, 2021. Individuals wishing to participate in the additional discussion (listening sessions or focus groups in late January) can choose to identify themselves and share contact information. The project will culminate in the release of a document summarizing the survey data and focus groups along with recommendations for addressing SUD in Kanawha County and the State.

Take the Survey

Read more on Harm Reduction

New RCORP Funding Opportunity

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation (RCORP-Implementation)—March 12.  The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will be making approximately 78 awards of $1 million each to rural communities to enhance substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD), service delivery.  Over the course of a three-year period of performance, grant recipients will implement a set of core prevention, treatment, and recovery activities that align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis.  Award recipients are strongly encouraged to leverage workforce recruitment and retention programs like the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).  All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for-profit, are eligible to apply and all services must be provided in HRSA-designated rural areas (as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer).  The applicant organization must be part of an established network or consortium that includes at least three other separately-owned entities.  A majority, or at least 50 percent, of members in each consortium must be located within HRSA-designated rural areas.  Applicants are encouraged to include populations that have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities, and other inequities, as compared to the rest of the target population, when addressing SUD/OUD in the proposed service area.  FORHP will hold an hour-long webinar for applicants on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 from 1-2 p.m., ET.  A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend.  Please reference page ii in the NOFO for the dial-in information for the webinar and contact ruralopioidresponse@hrsa.gov with programmatic questions and bmirindi@hrsa.gov with fiscal/budget-related questions.

The vClinician: Mom and Babies Opioid User Disorder App

JBS International is a proud Phase 1 and Phase 2 winner of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau Grand Challenge: Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms. Their response to HRSA’s Challenge provides a mobile decision-support application (i.e., vClinician: M&B OUD [Moms and Babies Opioid Use Disorder]) or “virtual clinical guide” to health care providers and educators in diverse medical settings.

You are invited to utilize this app where content focuses on one the following:

To download this free mobile app, go to the App Store (for iPhones) and Google Play Store (for Android phones) and search for vClinician: M&B OUD. For more information, please download vClinician: M&B OUD App Guide in the link.

PPE Resources and Upcoming Substance Use Listening Sessions


First, this week our Foundation was informed that West Virginia VOAD has received a shipment of PPE, which includes KN-95 masks, cloth masks, and gloves. VOAD also has blankets and basic personal hygiene kits available. All items are available free of charge to nonprofit organizations in need. If your organization has a need for these items, please reach out to Staci Boggs by phone: 304-640-5183 or through email: info@wvvoad.org.

Second, over the last year, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Drug Control Policy, and the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment have been implementing the West Virginia Substance Use Response Plan. They have put together upcoming virtual town hall meetings to provide an update and overview of year 1 progress and solicit feedback regarding updates to the plan for year 2. Each town hall meeting will focus on a different section of the plan

Rural Faith Leaders Workshop Series: Empowering Faith Leaders to Help Persons with Substance Use Disorder

Rural Faith Leaders Workshop Series:
Empowering Faith Leaders to Help Persons with Substance Use Disorder

“If ever the sum were greater than the parts, it is in combining the power of God,
religion and spirituality with the power of science and professional medicine to
prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction” Joseph Califano Jr., Founder
and Chairman Emeritus of the Partnership to End Addiction
The substance use issue is an all-hands-on-deck emergency, so we need to harness and
empower the powerful resources of everyone who has a stake in health, including the
special talents of the faith community. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other
houses of worship are positioned in communities to be both first responders and
communities of hope for people struggling with addiction. A healthy, safe community
is essential to healing and long-term results and this is already part of the local
churches’ DNA. As the nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Faith
leaders need information and resources now more than ever to help rural leaders build
strong, healthy, drug-free communities. The Rural Faith Leaders Workshop Series:
Empowering Faith Leaders to Help Persons with Substance Use Disorder is a series of four
workshops for rural Faith Leaders. Each of the workshops will contain valuable
information for Faith Leaders and provide updated information and resources. The
workshops will be recorded and made available on the Rural Community Toolbox site
The series has 3 objectives:
1. Increase the Faith Leaders understanding of substance use disorder and how to
connect faith to prevention, treatment, and recovery.
2. Build the capacity of Faith leaders to take action by providing information to
help get leaders and their congregants ready to provide the support needed to
assist individuals with substance use disorder.
3. Help Faith Leaders to find their lane and empower faith communities to put
initiatives in place to help in the area(s) where they can make the most
The series overview:

Workshop 1: Substance Use Disorder and the Pandemic in Rural Communities

Workshop 2: Prevention Education and Connecting Faith to Prevention
Workshop 3: Understanding Treatment and Connecting Faith to Treatment
Workshop 4: Supporting Recovery and Connecting Faith to Recovery

Workshop 1:
The first workshop will take place on December 8, 2020 – 1:00 -2:30 pm EST. It will
cover the following:
 Understanding the intersecting epidemics of opioid misuse/abuse and COVID 19
in rural areas
 Economic impact of substance use disorder on small communities before and
during the pandemic
 Using data to understand the problem in your community
 Helping Faith-based and Community Leaders Bring Hope and Healing to Our
 Congregation Readiness: Getting the Faith Community Ready to help

Workshop 1: Scheduled Speakers:
 James Carroll, Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
 Betty-Ann Bryce, Special Advisor for Rural Affairs, White House Office of
National Drug Control Policy
 Dr. Erin Winstanley, Associate Professor, West Virginia University, School of
Medicine, Department of Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry
 Vanessa Lominac Haste, JD, Program Manager, Kentucky Access to Recovery,
 Heidi Christensen, Public Affairs Specialist at the Center for Faith-based and
Neighborhood Partnerships, Dept. of Health and Human Services
 Pastor Greg Delaney, Outreach Coordinator, Woodhaven Residential Treatment
Center, Dayton, OH
 Dr. Monty Burks, Director of Special Projects & Faith Based Initiatives with the
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

If you would like to attend the event, please RSVP to Betty-Ann Bryce at this email
MBX.ONDCP.RuralAffairs@ondcp.eop.gov. Please include your name, title, organization
and contact information. Registered participants will receive the details to join the event
closer to the event date.

Please share this invitation with colleagues and RSVP early as space is limited.