Welcome to the third edition of the bimonthly newsletter from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP).
It is hard to believe that this is the ODCP’s third newsletter. As with the first two newsletters, there is much to report.
The first issue to discuss is the most significant: while we continue to be in the midst of a pandemic that consumes our time and attention, West Virginia continues to be in the middle of the opioid epidemic, now a poly-substance misuse epidemic. Overdoses continue at a higher rate than 2019, but even more importantly, there is growing concern just like in our neighboring states – that overdose fatalities have increased.
This is cause for alarm, but more importantly it is a significant reason to continue our efforts to save lives, to prevent people from becoming addicted, and to enable people who are ready for treatment to have timely access to care.
Significant initiatives are being implemented throughout the state. Some examples include statewide rollout of the Connections App; increased residential treatment beds; and statewide training for treatment providers working with people using methamphetamine. While it is too early to evaluate effectiveness, we need to be encouraged with these signs of progress.
Despite facing many challenges, West Virginia has a high level of positive activity. The key to progress continues to be through the hard work and passion of many people throughout state government, local partnerships, and all our communities.
– Bob Hansen, Director