Overdose alert issued for area counties

West  Virginia Department of Health and Human Resource image.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An overdose alert has been issued for almost half of West Virginia.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources is warning that 23 of the state’s 55 counties are considered high risk for an increase in drug overdoses.

Officials are encouraging residents to obtain the opioid reversal drug naloxone from their local pharmacy or health department to combat the increase.

“We’re working hard to make sure if we know those overdoses are coming, to make sure we push more naloxone out there, but fentanyl is our problem,” state DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said.

The DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy has a predictive model that is used to issue the alert based on overdose activities in neighboring states like Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Crouch said those out-of-state overdoses will eventually bleed into West Virginia.

“We’re going to see those same overdoses in those same overdoses in about 36 hours as those drugs spread through West Virginia,” he said.

Crouch said that’s why the state is working to get ahead of the problem by alerting the public.

“We’re trying to watch what’s going on around us and make sure we react and try to save lives,” he said. “This problem is not going away.”

The alert was issued for Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Clay, Grant, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Mineral, Mingo, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Putnam, Wayne and Wetzel counties.

Naloxone can be obtained from your local pharmacy or health department. To access treatment and recovery resources, call 1- 844-HELP4WV.