Sens. grant funds to tackle Huntington opioid crisis

Danite Belay, Reporter

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced that $350,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Public Health and Science and Office of Minority Health is being granted to the city of Huntington to help tackle the opioid crisis the city is facing. The funds will assist minority health community programs to improve minority health.

“The women and men on the front lines fighting this epidemic are the best among us, and I will continue to fight to ensure they have the resources they need to fight this epidemic,” Manchin said in a press release. “I continue to be encouraged by their commitment to tackling this crisis, and together we can bring this epidemic to an end.”

With the highest drug overdose death rate in the country, West Virginia is facing a serious problem. Huntington, named epicenter of the opioid crisis, is in a constant battle to overcome the drug problem.

“As one of America’s hardest hit cities, Huntington has set a strong example in the fight to end this devastating drug epidemic,” Capito said in a press release. “I have seen the progress city officials and other leaders are making there and am glad this funding will help them continue their heroic efforts.”

Also in an attempt to combat the opioid epidemic, federal grants accumulating to $2 million have been awarded to the city of Huntington. The grants, organized by the Huntington Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, will assist the Quick Response Team and a program at the Western Regional Jail to decrease reoffending rates of inmates with mental health or substance use disorders.

The Quick Response Team is described as “a multidisciplinary and multifaceted approach” that addresses the opioid epidemic. The team will consist of medical care providers, law enforcement, recovery and treatment providers and university researchers to deliver a fast response to people who have overdosed. The team will also conduct individualized screenings to determine a plan of action for substance abusers.

“I applaud all of the law enforcement agencies, corrections officials, university researchers, faith-based leaders, medical care providers and treatment and recovery centers that have worked tirelessly to secure this funding,” Mayor of Huntington Steve Williams said in a press release. “The city of Huntington also extends our gratitude to our congressional delegation for their unrelenting support of our initiatives.”

Danite Belay can be contacted at [email protected]