county that has led the nation in overdose deaths from narcotic pain
medications, it’s about time.
very limited help has been available locally.
people who are at the bottom rung, who are at the bottom, who say ‘I need help,
please help me,’ we don’t have the resources to do that,” said Del. Clif Moore,
is also McDowell County Manager, is part of a team of officials working to
Moore was born and raised in McDowell County, and returned 20 years ago after 2
decades in Ohio. He’s witnessed the decline in the local economy and
the rise of the drug epidemic.
disheartening, and it’s sad, and it brings tears to my eyes, but I can’t let
that negativity get to me to the point that I’m going to be discouraged,” said Moore.
easy, I’m not trying to paint a picture like we’re going to do this over night,
like we have everything in place, because we don’t, “ he said. “But if we
continue to ask questions, and evolve and grow, we’re going to solve the vast
majority of the problems facing McDowell, particularly the prescription drug
of those 4 initiatives is about to open its doors in downtown Welch. Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center will begin operation in
mid-December of a new Suboxone drug-treatment clinic.
Moore says Southern Highlands and the local Family Resource
Network, along with West Virginia University share credit for this achievement.
And the use
of telemedicine makes it possible.
have a doctor, maybe sitting in Morgantown, and they will be clued in with a
camera with audio equipment, so they can see that patient,” explained Moore.
“So they go
through the examination process, they can read blood pressure charts, graphs,
all the things they need to do, and direct the clinicians in the Welch office –
Moore says 3-4 doctors could treat more than 100 patients with
the use of telemedicine.
we can begin to put a real big dent in the problem in southern West Virginia, particularly McDowell.”
strategy is a 10-bed treatment facility just for women. Moore says during the last session
McDowell legislators, led by Sen. John Pat Fanning, were able to secure a
special appropriation of $1.5 million for the Welch facility.
are addicted to drugs give birth to babies who are addicted to drugs. If we can
get women off drugs, we will have fewer babies born with drugs,” said Moore.
save more money and we can save more lives. We won’t destroy families, we won’t
destroy babies, we won’t destroy mothers,” he said.
“And so to
have that facility, we think is a great starting point.”
of the women’s drug treatment center is scheduled to begin this spring, with
completion by the end of the summer. It’ll be run by the WV Dept. of Health and
other drug treatment initiatives for McDowell are about to enter a competitive
state application process.
this year the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse and 6 regional
task forces recommended a detoxification and stabilization unit to serve region
six, which includes McDowell County. Moore says McDowell, along with other
counties, will apply to be the home of the new regional center when the state
starts taking applications in mid-December.
He says the
county will also apply for state money to implement a Screening, Brief
Intervention, Referral and Treatment (SBIRT) Program at Welch Community Hospital.
you go to the ER for whatever reason, and doctors determine that you are
abusing either alcohol or drugs. At that point there will be counselors on the
scene to come to you, get more info, to talk to you, so we’ll briefly
intervene,” said Moore.
that intervention, we’ll be able to refer you to treatment on the spot, to the
detox center, the Suboxone clinic, or the women’s 10-bed unit,” he said. “So
that’s another important part that we’re putting together to combat this
fate – and funding - of those last two programs ultimately rest at the state
level. Moore hopes leaders have been following the work within his
county, and the merit of its program applications.
“We have a governor
from southern West Virginia, he understands the problem. I hope that the Governor is listening, I hope
his staff is listening, I hope the policymakers and the decision makers are
listening,” said Moore. “I hope they can understand the need and understand
our expectations of getting these 2 facilities.”
should understand that not only do we need them, not only do we have the capacity
to operate them, but we have achievable outcomes.”
Moore expects the state will likely make its decision on
the regional detoxification centers and the screening and intervention programs