addiction crisis

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley Resource

This is the first story in an occasional series exploring the links between addiction recovery and a recoverying economy. 

OLEG DUDKO 123RF STOCK PHOTO

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday more than a dozen indictments against doctors in the Ohio Valley on charges relating to the illegal distribution of opioids. These are the first major indictments from the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which started work in December.

Ashton Marra / WVPB

When Dr. Rahul Gupta started work as West Virginia’s chief health officer his state was already ground zero for the opioid epidemic, with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose fatalities.

That was 2015, and 735 state residents died from overdoses that year.  

Preliminary data for 2017 show there were 1,011 overdose deaths last year, a record high for the state.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

New data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a rare bright spot amid the opioid crisis. Fewer high schoolers in the region appear to be using opioids.

Anthony Scott Lockard / KY River Dist. Health

In a room at the Letcher County Health Department in Whitesburg, Kentucky, about 20 people are learning how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, via Ohio Valley ReSource

Health officials in the Ohio Valley are dealing with a multi-state, regional outbreak of Hepatitis A infections, with nearly 500 cases in four states. As part of the Ohio Valley ReSource series, “Rural Risk,” Mary Meehan reports this outbreak is the latest public health threat linked to the region’s addiction crisis.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Health officials in the Ohio Valley are investigating outbreaks of disease associated with needle drug use in what is emerging as a new public health threat from the region’s profound opioid addiction crisis.

Ashton Marra, courtesy WVPB

The Ohio Valley’s numbers on the opioid crisis are grim, especially so in West Virginia, which has the nation’s highest rate of overdose deaths.

Courtesy White House video.

Now that the president has officially declared the opioid crisis a health emergency, many people are wondering how that will help in the nation’s hardest hit region: the Ohio Valley. Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia collectively have an overdose death rate that is twice the national average. Aaron Payne of the Ohio Valley ReSource reports on some potentially helpful parts of the President’s plan and one big thing that’s missing.