West Virginia Addiction Treatment and Info

The nation as a whole is struggling with drug and substance abuse, and this has been the case for a few decades now. However, some states are significantly more affected than others, and this is true for West Virginia. When the rates of substance abuse are compared, those of West Virginia are on par with the nation's, with opioid abuse rates being slightly higher than the national average. Fentanyl abuse has become a serious issue in the state, with numerous programs being put in place to undercut it.

Addiction in West Virginia

From the Appalachian Mountain forests to the picturesque Shenandoah River, West Virginia is very rich as far as natural splendor goes. However despite this, West Virginia's rural and urban areas still witness some of the country's most elevated rates of drug abuse, addiction, and even overdose fatalities.

The nation's opioid epidemic is right at the core of this problem, and for the ever-growing number of persons and communities that experience these dangers; access to concise, comprehensive addiction could act as a frontline defense against these tragedies.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has reported that at least one in 10 West Virginia residents struggle with addiction. With numbers this high, numerous individuals, families and whole West Virginia communities face this battle every day. Providing wholesome addiction treatment options to residents of the state helps fight the ruin that is caused by drug addiction and alcohol addiction.

In 2016, the highest drug-overdose fatality rates in all of America took place in West Virginia. This was according to data that was made available from the CDC. At 52 deaths per 100,000 people, this number was about 33 percent higher than Ohio, the second-ranked state with 39.1 deaths per 100,000 people. It was also nearly 163 percent greater than the national average, which in 2016 stood at 19.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. This paints a picture on just how serious drug abuse is in the state.

In West Virginia, substance use disorders range from those brought about by alcohol to the ones that are rooted in illicit drugs like meth, heroin, Fentanyl and cocaine. State residents also abuse a varied range of prescription drugs, including but not limited to benzodiazepines (like Valium and Xanax), ADHD stimulant medications (like Adderal and Ritalin) and opioid painkillers (OxyContin and Vicodin being the most prevalently abused).

While all of these could profoundly damage a person's life, it is opioid drugs like heroin, Fentanyl, and prescription painkillers which have caused a statewide crisis.

Commonly Abused Substances in West Virginia

There are multiple substances which are used and abused in the state. However, some are more prevalent than others. The information that follows highlights the most common drugs here:

1. Opioids

Quite aptly referred to as the ground zero of the American opioid epidemic, West Virginia recorded the highest rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in the nation in the year 2016. A recent analysis estimated that the opioid epidemic drains the state's economy by roughly $8.8 billion a year.

To put this in perspective, 733 lives lost were lost to opioid-related overdoses in 2016, at a rate of 43.4 deaths per every 100,000 people. These deaths were an absurdly high 2,311 percent higher than they were in 1999.

This dramatic leap is due to elevated heroin and synthetic opioid (with Fentanyl being the leading one) overdose deaths. Specifically, from 2010, synthetic opioid-related deaths more than quadrupled, from 102 to 435 deaths and heroin-related fatalities rose from 28 to 235 fatalities.

More people were admitted for opiate addiction treatment (other than heroin) in West Virginia than other drugs except alcohol. 150,000 residents of West Virginia used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons between 2006 -2007. In 2009, 1,608 people entered drug treatment for opiate addiction dependence.

2. Prescription Painkillers

Many experts are convinced that the rising rates of opioid abuse and opioid overdoses are tethered to the high number of opioids which are prescribed across the nation. At 110 opioid prescriptions per 100 people, the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions is so very high that nearly every state resident could well have their own prescription.

In certain rural areas, this opioid prescription rate is astronomically higher: from 2008 to 2015, 20.8 million painkillers were distributed to Williamson, West Virginia, a town with just over 3,000 residents. In nearby Kermit, in 2008, a single drug wholesaler delivered the equivalent of 5,624 pills for every resident— including children.

3. Heroin

There were 181 people admitted for heroin addiction in 2009. Both the demand and supply of heroin is limited throughout West Virginia. Those who are addicted to heroin in West Virginia typically get their supply from Philadelphia and Baltimore.

4. Cocaine

Cocaine and crack cocaine are readily available in the majority of cities in West Virginia. Rural communities in West Virginia have been badly affected by the distribution of crack cocaine. At least 40,000 citizens - or 2.60% of the overall West Virginia population - abused cocaine between the years 2005 and 2006. West Virginia ranked among the top 10 states for cocaine use and abuse among 18-25 year olds in the country.

5. Marijuana

Marijuana abuse persists on being a huge problem in the state. In the period of 2005-2006, over 141,000 residents (9.12%) of the West Virginia population used or abused marijuana. 661 people were admitted to drug rehab for marijuana addiction in 2009.

6. Methamphetamines

Methamphetamine is one of the most prevalently used as well as available drugs in West Virginia. However, the combined efforts of state and Federal law enforcement regulations of chemicals have greatly helped to reduce the production of methamphetamine. In 2009, there were about 70 persons who went to treatment for amphetamine dependence.

7. Alcohol

The number of people admitted to treatment for alcohol abuse as the primary substance in 2009 was 2,843 while those admitted for alcohol combined with a secondary substance stood at 318.

Drug Related Injuries and Fatalities in West Virginia

Opioids were, by a distance, the leading cause of overdose fatalities in the year 2008. At least 93.2% of deaths from drug overdoses were due to opiates other than heroin. Of this number, only 44% had a prescription for the opiates that led to their deaths. Throughout 1999-2004, there was a remarkable 550% increase in the number of people who suffered from an overdose in West Virginia. In the year 2007, there were 3 drug courts which were functional in West Virginia. More than half of the drug cases in 2006 involved crack cocaine followed by powdered cocaine, with marijuana coming in third.

There were at least 405 persons that died as a result of drug use compared to at least 430 who died from vehicle accidents and an additional 270 or so who died from incidents involving firearms. Statewide and local arrests for drug abuse violations in West Virginia totaled to 4,100 in 2006. The DEA reported about 115 arrests for drug violations in the year 2007. The DEA confiscated about 6 kilograms of cocaine in 2007.

Between 2005 and 2007, methamphetamine lab incidents fell from 213 to 40, further evidence of the successful shift in enforcement being targeted in the state. In 2006, more the 57,000 marijuana plants were eradicated - to quote the DEA - in West Virginia.

Addiction Prevention in West Virginia

West Virginia offers multiple programs which are designed to curb the growing rates of substance abuse among the locals. Some examples of these programs include:

a) Opioid Response Plans

Experts from 3 major universities recommended an opioid response plan based on state data, public input and the national best practices for substance abuse. This plan is focused on overdose reversal, treatment, early intervention, prevention and support for families of people that abuse drugs.

b) Statewide Epidemiological Outcome Workgroups

This state-wide initiative is comprised of 26 organizational and individual members, with the inclusion of the West Virginia State Police, the National Guard and the West Virginia Bureau for Children and Families. This group employs data use to come up with policies which address substance abuse prevention at the community, county and state levels.

Additional outreach efforts are inclusive of needle exchange programs throughout West Virginia, in a bid to decrease disease transmission. Distribution of free naloxone (Narcan) kits that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose is also in place.

Addiction Treatment in West Virginia

In addition to the preventative programs in place, the state has a vast variety of addiction treatment and rehab programs available. These programs offer unique and highly personalized recovery services to admitted clients.

In 2009, at least 6,070 persons were admitted to drug rehabs in West Virginia. The numbers keep fluctuating as there were roughly 6,380 persons that went to alcohol and drug treatment in 2005 and 7,642 who went in 2006. In the year 2006, which was the last year of reported statistics, the state had 83 facilities. 25 addiction rehabilitation centers in the state of West Virginia give residential care, with only 8 facilities availing opioid treatment. In the period of 2005-2006, 42,000 residents reported being in need of addiction treatment for illicit drugs, especially opiates, but were unable to receive treatment.

Consider the following categories of substance abuse treatment and rehab services that are available in West Virginia:

i) Intervention Services

Addiction changes the way the brain works, and this may lead the addicted person into believing that he or she is not in need of help. In these circumstances, an intervention may help them to acknowledge their addiction and have them commit to seeking treatment.

Professional interventionists plan and moderate the intervention. Once a person decides to seek treatment, the interventionist will have a plan ready to get them into treatment promptly.

ii) Drug and Alcohol Detox Programs

When someone stops drinking or doing drugs without professionally guided medical care, cravings and withdrawal symptoms can very quickly spiral out of control. The programs here provide compassionate medical support so that a patient can safely, comfortably and successfully progress through their detox process.

Without the 24-hour care which is provided by a professional drug and alcohol detox program, a person is more likely to relapse as a means to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

iii) Inpatient Addiction Treatment

West Virginia inpatient addiction treatment works to eliminate negative mindsets and behaviors which threaten sobriety. Through therapy, a patient can start to build positive behaviors as well as life skills that support long-term recovery. This process can be challenging, and for many people and as such, these goals are a lot more easily achieved via the support and residential setting of an inpatient drug rehab program.

High-quality inpatient drug rehab programs build each client's treatment program around their particular needs. Treatment can include addressing any relationship, job, educational, health or medical problems caused or aggravated by addiction.

iv) Outpatient Addiction Treatment

During outpatient drug rehab, a person returns home after treatment every day. Some people may choose to live in a sober-living home during this time.

While this flexibility is beneficial for some people, for others it can open the door to triggers and relapse. Traditional outpatient and intensive outpatient programs usually work best as step-down programs, used by patients after an inpatient program to encourage a commitment to recovery principles as they adapt to the demands of sober living.

v) Aftercare and Alumni Services

The state's aftercare and alumni support services avail patients with ongoing access to a recovery support network in the period of time after treatment. Aftercare programs in West Virginia may include:

  • Alumni mentorship programs
  • Peer support groups
  • Self-improvement programs
  • - Sober-living homes

Some aftercare programs typically last a few months to a year, while others may last all throughout a person's recovery.

vi) Addiction Treatment Therapies

Regardless of the drug rehab type you settle for, there is a high probability that you will find the following therapy kinds in place at the addiction recovery facility of your choice:

  • 12-step and non-12 support groups
  • Addiction education
  • Aftercare programs
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Alumni programs
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Complementary therapies, including equine therapy, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, massage therapy, and journaling
  • Coping techniques
  • Couples counseling
  • Detox programs
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Exercise therapy
  • External support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy meetings
  • Individual counseling
  • Inpatient programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Intervention services
  • Life skills training
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Outpatient programs
  • Relapse prevention
  • Sober living homes
  • Stress management
  • Vocational training

Getting Help

As soon as you understand that you are having significant problems with drug and substance use and abuse, it is recommended that you check yourself into a rehab program. The earlier you access a West Virginia rehab program and start to go through professional treatment, the higher the chances of completely readjusting to sobriety and normal function are.









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