WVU in the News: DHHR and WVU to implement drug epidemic pilot project in Berkeley and Jefferson counties

WVU in the News: DHHR and WVU to implement drug epidemic pilot project in Berkeley and Jefferson counties

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Office of Drug Control Policy has partnered with West Virginia University (WVU) on a pilot project to address substance use at the local level in Berkeley and Jefferson counties. The initiative, championed by Gov. Jim Justice, will work with community partners to strengthen and expand prevention and recovery resources.

“These counties are in the top 10 when it comes to the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in West Virginia,” said Gov. Justice. “West Virginia communities need solutions, and this initiative will help us determine what works so that we can develop a model that can be replicated across the state.”

The pilot project will implement activities across the continuum of prevention, early intervention, treatment, overdose reversal, family support and recovery. 

“As West Virginia continues to lead the nation in drug overdoses and child removals from the home, initiatives like this are critical,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch. “I am thankful for the leadership of Gov. Justice and expertise of our partners at WVU as we work to create a brighter future for West Virginia children and families.”

The project will engage partners including medical professionals, health departments, first responders, law enforcement, faith community, behavioral health providers, schools and recovery coaches. 

“WVU is pleased to partner with DHHR and community representatives to implement a plan that supports residents on their path to recovery,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, WVU Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences. “Through research and collaboration, I believe this project will improve opportunities and quality of life in the state.”

This is the second pilot project in West Virginia spearheaded by Gov. Justice. The first pilot project, announced in February 2018, is based in Wyoming County and is a partnership between DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy and Marshall University. It is in the final stages of planning and budgeting.

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Photo credit: West Virginia Office of the Governor

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