Wakeup West Virginia
261 people in West Virginia's tri-county area - Kanawha, Putnam and Cabell - overdosed in 2016 (Source: West Virginia Health Statistics Center, Vital Statistics System, Drug Overdose Database, March 20, 2017.)
Prevent Prescription Drug and Heroin Misuse
Our nation is in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis. As a response, the DEA 360 Strategy takes an innovative three-pronged approach to combating heroin/opioid use through law enforcement, diversion control and community outreach. Watch.
Wondering what organizations in your community can help with drug addiction? Check out this list.
Controlled prescription drugs, heroin and fentanyl
The drug addiction and abuse problem is approaching a crisis level in West Virginia with the state now leading the entire nation in overdoses. Heroin, fentanyl and controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) are at the forefront of the problem and are responsible for the majority of the state’s overdoses. In 2016, almost 85 percent of drug overdoses were due to at least one opioid.1
The abuse of prescription medication has been a serious issue in the state for a while. But now, unfortunately, users are turning to the cheaper and more potent opioids heroin and fentanyl to get high.
Nationwide, among new heroin users, 75 percent report having abused prescription opioids before using heroin.
Heroin, Fentanyl and Prescription Drugs: West Virginia’s Crisis
The drug addiction and abuse problem is approaching a crisis level in West Virginia with the state now leading the entire nation in overdoses. Heroin, fentanyl and controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) are at the forefront of the problem and are responsible for the majority of the state’s overdoses.
Controlled Prescription Drugs
Many West Virginians have physically demanding jobs in mining, manufacturing and timbering. Those professions can cause injuries that need to be treated with opioid pain relievers – such as oxycodone, Percocet and Opana – and as a result, the state has one of the highest opioid prescription rates in the country.1 Though the drugs can be prescribed legitimately, since they are very addictive, many end up abusing them and trying to get them illegally when their prescriptions run out. There are also users who were never prescribed the medication and have always used the drugs illegally and recreationally.
Here are a few ways users get the prescription drugs illegally:
Doctors and Healthcare providers. Some licensed professionals will unlawfully write prescriptions for people who don’t have a legitimate medical need in exchange for money. In other cases, doctors are lied to by so-called “doctor shoppers” who attempt to satisfy their drug addiction by getting prescriptions from a variety of physicians.2
Thievery. In some cases, pharmacy workers will steal the prescription meds and sell to street drug dealers. Other times, robbers target pharmacies to steal the medication and sell them.
The Out-of-state Connection. Drug dealers, many from Detroit, travel by car or bus to transport the controlled prescription drugs into West Virginia.
Growing Threat: Heroin and Fentanyl
Prescription drug abuse has devastated the state for years, but now heroin and fentanyl – both highly addictive and cheaper opioids – are on the rise. In fact, many heroin users started off as CPD abusers.
Heroin is an opiate drug processed from morphine and extracted from certain poppy plants. It is highly addictive, cheaper than prescription medication and produces a euphoric high. In August 2016, during just a four hour period, 27 people overdosed from heroin in Huntington, West Virginia.4 Out-of-state dealers bring in a large amount of the state’s heroin supply.
When used legally, fentanyl is a prescription painkiller. On a small scale, the drug is diverted from the legitimate market for sale. But it is illegal fentanyl, mostly made in Chinese and Mexican underground labs, that is largely responsible for the current epidemic across the country.
Users are attracted to fentanyl’s strong, euphoric high. The addiction is very strong. Many users constantly seek out the drug to avoid withdrawal.
Fentanyl overdose deaths in West Virginia went up by more than 20 percent between 2012 and 2015. Dealers often mix fentanyl and heroin, or market fentanyl as heroin, so many times users don’t really know what they are taking when they use the drug.
For decades, the number of fatal opioid overdoses nationwide had been steadily increasing, according to numbers from the National Vital Statistics System. But in 2018, the number of overall opioid deaths dropped to 46,802.
West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation in 2015.4 The state had 844 drug overdose deaths in 2016. Out of that number, 708 (almost 85 percent) were due to at least one opioid. And about 40 percent of the total overdoses were due to fentanyl. The two counties with the most overdose deaths were: Cabell (132) and Kanawha (129) – all mostly due to opioids.3
West Virginia Health Statistics Center, Vital Statistics System, Drug Overdose Database, March 20, 2017.
Heroin Overdose Data. Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/heroin.html
David Gutman, “How did WV come to lead the nation in overdoses?” Charleston Gazette-Mail; October 17, 2015; http://www.wvgazettemail.com (accessed May 2016).
"Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use." National Institute on Drug Abuse; December 2015; https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-bet... (accessed April 2017)
Tony Marco, “West Virginia City Has 27 Heroin Overdoses in 4 Hours.” CNN; August 18, 2016; http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/17/health/west-virginia-city-has-27-heroin-overdoses-in-4-hours/ (accessed April 2017)
52016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary Link: https://www.dea.gov/resource-center/DIR-001-17%202016%20NDTA%20Summary.pdf
“Fentanyl: The Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis.” Statement from Louis J. Milione Assistant Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration. March 21, 2017.
Data Source: West Virginia Health Statistics Center, Vital Statistics System, Drug Overdose Database, March 20, 2017.
- The vast majority of teens do not use heroin. In a 2018 national survey, only 0.4% of 12th graders used heroin in the past year.
- 96.4 percent of 12th graders disapprove of taking heroin occasionally.
- About 165,000 young people between 18 to 25 reported having a heroin use disorder in the past year.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE:
- Prescription opioid analgesics, specifically those containing oxycodone and hydrocodone, are the most common types of prescription drugs that are diverted for misuse and abused.
- Each day in the United States, over 192 people die as a result of a drug overdose.
- In 2017, an estimated 3.2 million people (aged 12 or older) reported current misuse of pain relievers.
- 53% of nonmedical users (12 years or older) reported receiving the prescription drugs they most recently used “from a friend or relative for free.”
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
- Drug deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (which includes fentanyl) increased almost 47% from 2016 to 2017.
Explore common misconceptions about opioids through the voices of teens. Go to Operation Prevention.
1 Source: University of Michigan, 2018 Monitoring the Future Study. View source here.
2 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2018. View source here.
3 Source: Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2017. View source here.
4 Source: Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2018. View source here.
5 Source: Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016. View source here.
6 Source: “Fentanyl: Illicitly-made fentanyl use is on the rise." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. View source here.
Rachel started drinking and smoking marijuana when she was just 14 years old. In the following years, she became addicted to alcohol, pills and heroin. Drugs cost her her home, child, car and job. Read more.
In recent years, the number of people admitted to publicly funded facilities for controlled prescription drug abuse has gone down.1 At the same time the number of admissions for heroin use rose significantly. In 2013, there were more treatment admissions for heroin than any other illicit drug.1
West Virginia has made an effort to make naloxone, medicine that reverses heroin overdose, more accessible. In 2016, the state passed a law that allows pharmacies to sell naloxone without a prescription. Early in 2017, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced its first naloxone distribution project.2 Also in 2017, the state passed a law that allows schools to give students the overdose prevention drug without contacting their parents first.3
1 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary. https://www.dea.gov/resource-center/DIR-001-17%202016%20NDTA%20Summary.pdf
2Press Release: DHHR Launches Statewide Naloxone Distribution Project to Fight Opioid Overdose Deaths in West Virginia. February, 6, 2017; http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/News/2017/Pages/DHHR-Launches-Statewide-Naloxone-Distribution-Project--to-Fight-Opioid-Overdose-Deaths-in-West-Virginia.aspx
3Associated Press, “W.Va. Law Authorizes Opioid Antidotes at Schools.” April 16, 2017; http://loganbanner.com/news/12660/w-va-law-authorizes-opioid-antidotes-at-schools (accessed April 2017)
Treatment Services in West Virginia
If you're looking for treatment specific to opioid addiction, check out this Opioid Treatment Program Directory by SAMHSA.
Otherwise, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Locator at the bottom of the page to find general drug treatment facilities in your area.
Local & State Partners
With a highly trained faculty, 500 seat in house theater, 4 movement studios, costume shop, specialized boutique and a fully equipped Pilates apparatus studio, 4th Avenue Arts continues to evolve, grow and change. In play-dough like fashion, we work to fit the needs of the community we serve and the students who embrace us.
Aetna Better Health of West Virginia uses an integrated approach to the administration of benefits. We will empower you, and your family, by giving you tools to live a healthy life.
The Appalachia HIDTA mission is to use a multi-disciplinary approach to deal with the ongoing threats to public health and safety, particularly as it regards prescription drug diversion, the emerging threat of heroin, as well as the continued threats of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and synthetic drugs. The Appalachia region is arguably the epicenter of this crisis, and will require unprecedented multi-disciplined cooperation to effectively address the many faceted health and public safety problems that result from this daunting threat. The Appalachia HIDTA will serve as the conduit for this cooperation.
The WV Army National Guard has 38 units and activities stationed in 22 counties throughout West Virginia and overseas. WV Army National Guard currently has units supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office has been protecting and serving the citizens of Boone County for well over 100 years. In addition to providing primary law enforcement in the unincorporated areas of the county twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the Sheriff is also in charge of collecting taxes. Boone County is mostly rural and consists of approximately 503 square miles with over 24,000 citizens.
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations, providing programs for young people that build character.
The Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership (CCSAPP) is a coalition of various agencies, organizations and individuals working together to reduce local substance abuse with strong collaborative partnerships and community ownership, using awareness, education and community-wide solutions.
Cabell-Huntington Health Department proactively advances public health through strong community partnerships and continuously acts to ensure a healthy, protected environment exists, and to promote individual total well-being that results in healthy communities.
The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.
The CAMC Health System was created in 1984 to meet the challenges of providing the highest level of health services to West Virginians, pulling together several hospitals with a history of community service dating back to 1895. Nearly 7,000 people work for companies within the CAMC Health System at multiple sites. CAMC Health System is the non-profit parent corporation of multiple hospitals and health care companies.
Our goal is to make the City of Charleston a safer place to work and live in. We work in a collaborative effort with the citizens to meet those needs through programs such as Dare, Citizens Police Academy, Neighborhood Watch, and the Neighborhood Assistance Officer program.
Church @ The Depot is an Evangelical Christian faith community made up of a congregation, school and child development center in West Virginia's Teays Valley.
The DEA Youth Dance Program was established to empower kids by providing a free and positive afterschool alternative to drugs through the fun, healthy, and expressive art form of dance.
Drags Not Drugs Program was founded in March 2006 with three goals in mind: 1) To find an activity both children and parents could enjoy together; 2) To equip the parents and children with valuable anti drug information; 3) Encouraging better choices and hobbies as an alternative to drug use.
The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-20). The DFC Mentoring (DFC-M) Program was established as a component of the DFC Support Program when the program was reauthorized in 2001 (Public Law 107-82, 115 Stat. 814).
Elk River is a place where families come together & worship.
Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life.
First Choice Health Systems began in 1995 as a collaborative effort among West Virginia’s comprehensive behavioral health care centers.
Mission: Protecting and educating our community through public health programs and partnerships.
Our mission is to empower and guide our county residents to become more preventative-oriented and to enhance their environmental and physical health through education.
Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) is one of the largest local health departments in the state. Besides its clinic at 108 Lee St., in Charleston, KCHD has divisions dealing with environmental health, epidemiology and threat preparedness, and health promotion and wellness. KCHD also provides all public health services for the Putnam County Board of Health.
KCTC's mission is to increase awareness of the substance abuse-related problems and issues facing the youth and adults of Kanawha County, and to lead a long-term, dynamic community-wide effort to create a safe and healthy environment for all of our citizens, especially youth, through the development and maintenance of strong interventions that focus on the youth citizens and use scientific, research-based programs and services with measurable outcomes.
Kanawha County Schools (KCS) is the largest school system in West Virginia. The district serves over 26,000 students, representing the region’s diverse socioeconomic mix.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office invites you to learn about our agency’s history, facilities, involvement in the community.
Lily's Place provides observational, therapeutic and pharmacological care to infants suffering from prenatal drug exposure. We use proven therapeutic handling methods and the latest weaning techniques to ease withdrawal symptoms.
The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University is a community-based, Veterans Affairs affiliated medical school dedicated to providing high quality medical education and postgraduate training programs to foster a skilled physician workforce to meet the unique healthcare needs of West Virginia and Central Appalachia.
Under the direction of West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch, the ODCP leads development of all programs and services related to the prevention, treatment and reduction of substance use disorder, in coordination with Department bureaus and other state agencies.
The Partnership of African American Churches (PAAC) is a 501 (c) 3 collaborative, non-profit, faith based community development corporation, based in Charleston, WV.
Drug-Free Kids is committed to helping families struggling with their son’s or daughter’s substance use.
Prestera Center impacts over 20,000 adults, children, and families across West Virginia each year and has been helping people lead happier, more fulfilling lives since 1967.
Public school system in West Virginia.
Mission: To protect and serve the citizens of Putnam County through the fair and just delivery of community policing services in a manner that is consistent with the highest standards of performance within the law enforcement profession.
The Putnam Wellness Coalition works towards the elimination of substance abuse in Putnam County by identifying key leaders in the community and providing a knowledge-base in which we promote substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
Recovery Point of West Virginia is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization offering recovery services at NO COST to clients across the state.
Regional Family Resource Network (RFRN) of Boone, Kanawha, and Putnam Counties supports and promotes the collaboration of all citizens in order to develop strategies for communities to succeed. RFRN participates in a variety of activities aimed at maximizing a community’s potential through assessing needs and problem solving, without providing direct services.
SADD is a youth-based, peer-to-peer organization that promotes youth empowerment and uses peer influence to spread the message of positive decision-making.
United States Attorneys serve as the nation's principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.
No one has been untouched by the addiction epidemic in our state. As a community of faith, we want to be a part of the solution and offer hope in whatever way we can to those battling substance abuse, their family members, and those in recovery. We hold a weekly support group and class for parents and partners of addicted loved ones. Nursery is provided for young children.
Step by Step, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Located in Institute, West Virginia the James H. “Tiger” Morton Juvenile Center is a 23 bed juvenile detention center. The facility is both a staff and hardware secured facility. The James H. “Tiger” Morton Juvenile Center provides residents of the facility the following: Medical Services, Mental Health Services, Various Assessments, Individual & Group Counseling, Voluntary Religious Services, Library Services, Recreational Participation, Additional Activities as Scheduled and Educational Services.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was sworn into the United States Senate on November 15, 2010 to fill the seat left vacant by the late Senator Robert C. Byrd.
Shelley Moore Capito was elected by the people of West Virginia to the United States Senate in 2014. She is the first female U.S. Senator in West Virginia’s history.
United Way of the River Cities is a nonprofit organization, the mission of which is to partner with our diverse and united community to solve its greatest issues. United Way supports programs and strategies that address critical issues in the Focus Areas of Education, Income, Health and Safety-Net Services.
Since 1888, the University of Charleston has grown and expanded to change with the educational needs and opportunities of students from across the nation and around the world. With a focus on citizenship, communication, creativity, critical thinking, ethical practice and inquiry, UC prepares students to be leaders in the fields they choose.
U.S Attorney's Office Southern District of West Virginia - www.justice.gov/usao-sdwv
For over 365 years the citizen soldiers of the Army National Guard have come to the aid of their neighbors during times of need. The Guard plays a key role during floods, fires and other natural disaster imaginable. The National Guard State mission involves helping communities during natural disasters and civil emergencies.
Over the years, the West Virginia Council of Churches has been active in areas of social justice, health and economic issues, legislative issues and disaster response.
As a land-grant institution, the faculty, staff and students at West Virginia University commit to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that advances education, healthcare and prosperity for all by providing access and opportunity; by advancing high-impact research; and by leading transformation in West Virginia and the world through local, state and global engagement.
WVSU students will tell you that there's a lot to love about their university ... from the many opportunities to learn and grow ... to the faculty and staff who support them on their journey to a successful future.
WOWK-TV is a Nexstar station in Huntington and Charleston, West Virginia. Broadcasting on channel 13, it is the CBS affiliate for the Charleston–Huntington market, the second largest television market (in terms of area) east of the Mississippi River.
The overarching mission of the Office of the Attorney General, as set forth in the West Virginia Constitution and the West Virginia Code, is to serve as the chief legal officer for the State of West Virginia. The Attorney General Speaks for the legal interests of the State.
The West Virginia Community Action Partnerships, Inc. (WVCAP) is a statewide membership organization for the 16 Community Action Agencies in West Virginia. Initially established in 1966, WVCAP serves as the voice for the local Community Action Agencies and low-income individuals and families on a statewide basis.
Vision: Prepare and empower all students to pursue knowledge for life, contribute to their community as responsible citizens, and succeed in the workforce.
The mission of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS) is to provide a safe and secure state by ensuring the proper response to all levels, manners and phases of emergencies, disasters and crimes. The role of the Office of the Secretary is to provide support, oversight and guidance to agencies involved in all facets of public safety. This includes law enforcement and other first response agencies, as well as the state's criminal justice, correctional and homeland security systems.
The West Virginia Pharmacists Association is a statewide professional organization representing the interests of licensed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students.
First Choice Services is excited to operate a program that provides immediate help for any West Virginian struggling with an addiction or mental health issue. The program features a 24/7 call and text line: 1-844-HELP-4-WV.
Lily's Place provides observational, therapeutic and pharmacological care to infants suffering from prenatal drug exposure. We use proven therapeutic handling methods and the latest weaning techniques to ease withdrawal symptoms.
The Putnam County Board of Health is dedicated to the planning, support and enhancement of those basic health services which are community responsive and preventive oriented, utilizing resources and supportive services available through local, state and federal agencies or programs.
PREVENTION FIRST is a paradigm, a mindset, a new vision! It’s a proactive, comprehensive stance to showcase the importance of substance abuse prevention throughout West Virginia. Learn more about this project.
Two websites have been developed to promote the resources, services, events and trainings in our state related to substance abuse prevention.
Help & Hope WV connects people to information, tools, directory of services, calendar of trainings, and events across the state.
StigmaFree WV provides information about the types of stigma experienced by individuals with substance use disorder, stories of recovery, and how people can get involved.
If you want to get involved in the DEA 360 Strategy you can start by educating yourself on the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic, and then share what you have learned with your family, friends, community, neighbors, etc.
Join a coalition or volunteer with a partnering organization.
Properly dispose of prescription drugs.
If you have prescription drugs that have expired or you no longer need you can deposit them into prescription drop-off boxes located in your community.