Community meeting encourages networking to address substance use disorder

POSTED: 04/11/2023 at 3:32 pm


In 2021, 1,453 West Virginians died from a drug overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 83 percent of those deaths had at least one potential opportunity for intervention, such as a mental health diagnosis or the presence of a potential bystander. Although the pervasiveness of the opioid epidemic can seem insurmountable, communities are banding together to increase these overdose interventions and prevent more people from slipping through the cracks.

As the substance use disorder (SUD) crisis has affected so many throughout the state, many believe brainstorming and implementing potential solutions should involve West Virginians from various fields with different life experiences. Using this community-based participatory research, healthcare providers, researchers, and other concerned citizens will explore how to strengthen their collective impact during a special Harrison County Providers Association community meeting on April 17 at Clarksburg Baptist Church

This meetingSubstance Use Disorder: Strengthening Harrison County’s care and support network” —will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to gather during a morning session (9 to 11:30 a.m.) to hear from community, academic, and state leaders who will share their perspectives on this topic. The keynote address will feature Sam Quinones, independent journalist and author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury 2015) and The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth (2021).

Other presenters during the morning session of the meeting include Lou Ortenzio, Executive Director of the Clarksburg Mission; Dr. Matthew Christiansen, Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health and State Health Officer; and Dr. Clay Marsh, Chancellor and Executive Dean of Health Sciences at WVU.

Hoping to raise awareness of local efforts, the meeting is part of a larger initiative funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to increase interactions, including referral relationships and activities, among organizations that deliver care and support services to individuals living with SUD. Bolstering this endeavor, the meeting’s afternoon lunch session (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) will provide an opportunity for these service providers to gather and discuss strategies for increasing awareness among all Harrison service providers of the provider network system. 

The community meeting is free and open to the public. Online registration is open.

Media: Contact Shelly Davidov, communications specialist, WVU Health Affairs Institute 


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