By CHRIS WOOD
For The Logan Banner
LOGAN - It is often said that truth is hidden in plain sight. This was one of the many themes explored Tuesday, July 23, by the Logan County Prevention Coalition's Narcan seminar at Logan County Fire Department 200 in Man .
"It's very scary," said Sharon Moorhead, Logan County prevention coordinator. "I'm a mother of a 21-year-old and a 20-year-old, and I have a 5-year-old. The reason I have taken this position is I recently lost someone very close to me from a drug overdose, and I didn't even notice she was a drug addict."
Moorhead's friend's addiction had been hidden in plain sight. The friend's children had found their mother's body, lying in her bed.
"So I want to do everything I can for my county - my state, even - to help prevent that from happening," Moorhead said. "With our kids coming up, plus our adults that we have now, I feel like it's an out-out-control epidemic. And I want to get out there and do so much."
The seminar was divided into three parts: a tour of Hidden in Plain Sight, an exhibit of a teenager's mock bedroom that gives off red flags for risky behavior and/or substance abuse; a PowerPoint demonstration about opiates and other drug trends in Logan County, plus a Narcan demonstration for initial responders; and a showing of "Heroine," a Netflix Oscar-nominated documentary that focuses on Huntington's heroin epidemic and what an active overdose actually looks like.
"We're going to educate people about Narcan," said Moorhead, "and train them and give them a kit if they want one. Logan County has a high rate of grandfamilies. That's where a lot of the younger children are living with their grandparents, and they're not familiar with all this new stuff. So we want to educate as many people as we can on everything that's out there."
Narcan - or naloxone - is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially during an overdose. When given intravenously, naloxone works within two minutes. When injected into a muscle, it works within five minutes. It may also be sprayed into the nose. The effects of naloxone last about half an hour to an hour. Multiple doses may be required, as the duration of most opioids is greater than that of naloxone.
Also present at the seminar was John Hutchinson, who is currently a justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
"Abuse and neglect cases are exploding all over the state," he told those present. "We encourage you to become involved. It starts at this level."
Hutchinson also added that he would support a grant for family treatment courts, which offer a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to serve families who require substance abuse treatment and who are also involved with the child welfare system.
"If you have a drug addiction, reach out," Moorhead said. "Get help. We're all here to help. We're not here to judge you. That's not what we're for. We're here to help you and stand by you and take you to the next step."
Josh Murphy, who helped create the exhibit Hidden in Plain Sight, works for the Mingo County STOP Coalition. He is also a Partnership for Success coordinator.
In describing 1-844-HELP4WV, he said, "They have all of the resources listed in the state. Usually when somebody calls, they can get somebody in the next day, sometimes the same day. It's manned 24 hours. They have the most up-to-date resource list of what type of programs people need.
"They're also in touch with all these different rehab centers, recovery centers and treatment centers. It usually just takes one call. Parents, family, loved ones can also call to look for help if they're looking for a support group. They also have information about that as well."
Many of those answering the helpline are peer-support specialists, or recovery coaches, meaning they have had personal experience with recovery from a mental health or substance abuse standpoint.
This initiative, funded by DHHR, is designed to expedite the process of finding help for behavioral health issues. The helpline staff offers confidential support and resource referrals, including self-help groups, out-patient counseling, medication-assisted treatment, psychiatric care, emergency care and residential treatment. It also provides assistance for those who need help themselves or guidance for those seeking help for loved ones. Finally, HELP4WV is an ideal way for social workers, nurses, and others involved in discharge or care planning to access a comprehensive list of state resources, such as treatment centers. To get help, call or text 1-844-HELP4WV (1-844-435-7498) or visit www.help4wv.com.
"We're sort of running the gamut with Hidden in Plain Sight," Murphy said. "We're doing prevention, trying to get kids to not use - period. We're giving the parents, grandparents, even the foster parents the tools they need to stop that before it starts. But we're also looking at what's going on in our state - not just with the problem but also with recovery and then how to help people if there is an overdose. So we're trying to look at it from all aspects. There's no one silver bullet, but I like to say there's silver buckshot."