Marshall School of Pharmacy aids in the City’s Battle Againstiss Addiction

The city of Huntington fights the flu epidemic with medical expertise, poverty with mission projects and now, the city will fight addiction with improved resources.

On Wednesday, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams held a press conference to address the fight with addiction. Williams opened the conference by saying, “One of the ways you address the problem is by defining the problem.”

With West Virginia suffering from an overdose death rate 11 times higher than the national average, many overdose deaths occur right in the Huntington area.

Tim Hazelett of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department leads the harm reduction program along with other proactive initiatives seeking to solve the addiction problem. “The mayor had foresight to establish the office of drug control policy,” Hazelett said when referring to the mayor’s dedication to better the city of Huntington.

In the fight against addiction, many partners have provided crucial resources. One crucial partner is Kaleo Pharmaceutical. KaleoCares is a program the company established to use medication to prevent the number of overdoses. Kaleo Pharmaceutical produces a drug called Naloxone that works as an EpiPen for unconscious overdose conditions. Two thousand two hundred units of Naloxone have been donated to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. These 2200 units represent the ability to save 2200 lives.

Family members, caregivers and friends affected by overdose within their relationships will be the ones administering the drug to overdosing individuals. Because the Naloxone is a prescription, those administering the drug must be trained in how to use it.

A key player in educating the community on Naloxone is the Marshall University School of Pharmacy. Students from the school of pharmacy will aid the health department in training individuals on how to properly administer the drug.

“We want the experts to train the community. We want the training to come from the experts—that’s why we partnered with Marshall University School of Pharmacy,” Hazelett said.

Marshall school of pharmacy student, Courtney Atzinger said her education provides insight to individuals using the new medication. “I think the naloxone program in itself is an amazing thing for the community,” Atzinger said. “As a pharmacist, we are aware of what the medication does and how it works.”

The school of pharmacy provides free training on Naloxone at the health department every Wednesday afternoon. Together, the two organizations hope to use the new medication to fight the battle against addiction.


Elayna Conard can be contacted at [email protected].