BEAVER, W.Va. – At an anti-drug community forum he organized in Beaver on Wednesday evening, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) announced that West Virginia has been chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to receive more than $1 million over the next three years for the development of an anti-drug abuse program that would serve as model for the rest of the Nation.
“CDC has given us an opportunity to lead. And lead we will. Already, in towns and cities and in the rural countryside we are combating the scourge. Our people are no stranger to adversity and challenge. Armed with adequate resources and the means to fight back, we will develop a model for other regions of our Nation. And we will ultimately prevail,” said Rahall.
This significant infusion of Federal funding will enable West Virginia to strengthen its prescription drug monitoring program and develop new drug-abuse prevention strategies, allowing the State to gear its Medicaid rules toward better protecting against drug abuse and overdose. West Virginia is one of only six states selected by the CDC to participate in this national initiative.
“This grant will allow us continue to battle against the serious consequences of prescription drug abuse in West Virginia,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling said. “With the additional monies, DHHR will provide the needed support and services to families and communities affected by this growing problem.”
Rahall, who has been an advocate in Congress for increased Federal resources to strengthen drug monitoring and prevention strategies, hosted Federal Drug Control officials at the Erma Byrd Center of Higher Education for a community forum, which included Dr. Daniel Sosin, Acting Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
“Drug abuse is an extremely difficult challenge, both for families and communities, and it requires patience and persistence in addressing. I intend to keep pushing hard in Congress to help our State get the Federal resources it needs to strengthen its law enforcement and public health strategies,” said Rahall.
Addendum: West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association executive director, Mark Drennan addressed the panel from the perspective of addictions professionals. Drennan stated that adequately funding the full continuum of addictions services is imperative to treat those suffering from addictions. In addition, strong leadership at home and in communities is needed to curb the demand for addictive substances.