Panel looks for public input on opioid epidemic

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West Virginia’s opioid epidemic impacts families in communities all across the state, either directly or indirectly. In 2016 West Virginia experienced the highest overdose death rate per capita in the nation. 

West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control Policy has gathered a panel of regional and national experts who will write a plan to respond to the state’s opioid epidemic. But they are also looking for input from the public. 

“A national expert who understands science and policy is very important but for example a mother who may have lost her son to addiction is equally important,” explained West Virginia State Health Officer Dr. Rahul Gupta. 

Right now the panel has launched a two week public comment period. State residents can take a survey and even categorize what aspect of the opioid response they are writing about. Gupta said the panel hopes to hear from those directly involved. 

“If this was some rare disease or other things that would be one thing where you can call experts and they can tell you,” Gupta said. “This is something that has touched the very fabric of our society and people have a lot of knowledge and information about what they think can help us and we certainly want to capture that.”

After the public comment period ends in mid-December the next step will be to host a public meeting. Gupta said that should happen before Christmas. The panel plans to have a preliminary draft ready for review in early January 2018 and have a final report to the governor by mid January. 

If you want to share your thoughts and ideas follow this link. 

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