The Eastern Panhandle will host a Legislative Brunch at 10 a.m. April 20 at the Moorefield South Branch Inn.
The brunch is a collaborative effort between the Eastern Regional Family Resource Network and the Potomac Highlands Guild Substance Abuse Prevention Program to address the two primary findings in the Service Array process regarding child health and safety-substance abuse and the lack of treatment options across the Eastern Panhandle.
A 2006-2007 study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 158,000 people in West Virginia used pain medications non-medically and 72,000 were in need of but did not receive treatment for illicit drug use. A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that from 1999 to 2004, West Virginia experienced a 550 percent increase in drug-overdose deaths.
Presently West Virginia has the highest rate of drug-overdose deaths in the United States, of which 90 percent are linked to prescription drugs.
The brunch will serve as a platform where a dialogue can be opened with legislators regarding community needs and a sharing of what is occurring at local and state levels to address these problems.
As substance abuse is involved in the majority of child-abuse cases, the premise of the brunch will be focused on what's best for the state's children. This is a public policy campaign led by Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia. The goal is that legislators use the question "Is it good for children?" as an aid for making decisions about child health and safety.
Every day at least three children die as a result of abuse and neglect. Child-welfare records indicate that substance abuse is one of the top two problems exhibited by families in almost 82 percent of the reported cases. Children being raised by families with substance abuse issues lack guidance, positive role modeling and frequently suffer from depression and low self-esteem. They are more likely to have problems with illicit drug use themselves.
Information will be presented regarding community impact, data and trends, and intervention and treatment options - current and exploratory. Presenters include Pathways, the new mental health and substance abuse drop-in center in Hampshire County; the Potomac Highlands Guild Substance Abuse Prevention Program; and Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment, a national program that works to eliminate illicit use of pharmaceuticals by training medical personnel on how to assess individuals for dependency and facilitate referral to treatment.
Legislators may register by contacting the Eastern Regional Family Resource Network at 304-822-5785 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration includes a brunch buffet and resource packet.