HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Representatives from nearly two dozen organizations throughout Cabell County today released a community-wide “Resiliency Plan” that outlines continued steps toward recovery from the effects of the substance use epidemic on our community.
A process that was a year in the making brought together representatives from the business, education, government, medical, mental health, faith-based, and social service sectors to craft a comprehensive plan aimed at community resiliency by sustaining existing approaches and establishing the necessary long-term solutions to fully recover and prevent similar future crises.
“We chose the term ‘resiliency’ because it’s a word grounded in the ability to overcome, and that’s what we all want for our community,” said Stephen M. Petrany, M.D., professor and chair of family and community health at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, who the group asked to coordinate and oversee the plan’s development. “The future health of our community requires a coordinated and collaborative strategy to repair the damage of the opioid crisis on current and future generations. This Resiliency Plan provides a blueprint for such a response that is flexible in design to adjust to the changing nature of the problem going forward.”
Although community needs and effective interventions may expand, implementation of the plan would be coordinated through a proposed Addiction Sciences Institute as a focal point for community collaboration and integrated problem solving across all the systems necessary to improve the health of Cabell County going forward. This institute would feature state-of-the-art research facilities, a center for education and offices for representatives of community stakeholders and partners.
Short-term approaches include reducing immediate physical, behavioral, and social needs of infants and children affected, providing evidence-based substance use education, and reducing barriers to treatment and recovery services and more. Long-term goals center around expanding prevention and early intervention efforts, building capacity for research and dissemination of best practices, coordinating efforts between legal/judicial and health care systems to reduce substance use, establishing frameworks for revitalizing business and employment opportunities for those in long-term recovery and addressing the multi-generational effects of substance use disorder.
Participating organizations include: Cabell County Commission, Cabell County EMS, Cabell-Huntington Health Department, Cabell-Huntington-Wayne Continuum of Care, City of Huntington, FaithHealth Appalachia, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lily’s Place, Marshall Health, Marshall University (Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Research Corporation, School of Pharmacy), Mountain Health Network (Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center), Prestera Center, PROACT, Valley Health Systems, Inc., United Way of the River Cities (Prevention Empowerment Partnership) and West Virginia DHHR Office of Drug Control Policy.
The 34-page Resiliency Plan can downloaded from the School of Medicine’s website at https://jcesom.marshall.edu/departments-divisions/family-community-health/division-of-addiction-sciences/.