West Virginia University’s response to the opioid crisis
West Virginia is at the epicenter of a national emergency in opioid abuse. We have, by far, the highest drug overdose fatality rates in the country. The epidemic has touched thousands of individuals and families. In addition to the direct impact of drug abuse, the state has seen a steady increase in infectious diseases linked to injections; unsustainable stresses to the health system, public health and law enforcement resources, and the economies of hundreds of communities.
West Virginia University is uniquely positioned to bring together academic and clinical experts, laboratory scientists, patient advocates, policymakers and the private sector to create a set of resources to lead the United States out of this crisis.
We approach the opioid emergency as a complex system problem that requires the coordination of an array of clinical services, primary prevention programs and population health initiatives. Collectively these activities include short- medium- and long-term treatment, recognition and healing of individual and intergenerational trauma and longer-term resilience building (individual, community, organizational) as key opportunities to improve outcomes in addiction and in chronic disease management and prevention.
The addiction crisis is not a standalone problem. It is a symptom of a larger breakdown in communities and families. WVU’s vision is to bring whatever resources we can to the immediate issue of addiction – and to greatly strengthen our efforts to improve the state’s economy, create jobs, repair the deteriorating fabric of our communities and rally people in the fight against hopelessness and despair.
See what’s happening across the University – and the state – in response to the crisis.
Addiction Experts Database
Some of the best minds at West Virginia University are working on this issue across all disciplines to develop new approaches to this crisis.