We have a number of vexing health problems in West Virginia. Perhaps our largest one is the opioid crisis.
I previously blogged about the town hall meeting we hosted with Sen. Joe Manchin at our Health Science Center. This meeting disclosed the foundation of the issue.
More people in the US die of overdoses than automobile accidents and we lead the nation in drug overdoses at 35.5/100,000. One night this year in Huntington, there were 27 911-emergency calls for heroin overdoses in a 4-hour period of time.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a meeting at the White House that was sponsored by the Executive Office of the President with the Addiction Medicine Foundation and the American Board of Addiction Medicine to discuss this issue further.
There, experts from around the country from academia, industry, private foundations and government joined to talk about the response from all of us.
The conversation included training the workforce and teams of tomorrow, the policies that are needed to reduce this growing problem and what kind of research can help us help those affected.
It is clear that the opioid challenge is a big one to West Virginia, but it also exists in every other place. Training programs are underway related to the area of Addiction Medicine and the needed expertise to oversee programs of influence to create solutions to the crisis.
While all the answers are elusive, it is clear that all of us working together is an important element to a better future for our citizens and the citizens of the United States.