CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the Governor's Advisory Council on Substance Abuse (GACSA) Progress and Recommendations Report is available online at www.governor.wv.gov
. The report provides updates, as well as short-term and long-term recommendations specific to prevention efforts, early intervention, treatment and recovery.
"My administration has made fighting substance abuse a top priority - it is woven throughout my substance abuse, prison overcrowding, drugged driving and mine safety legislation." Gov. Tomblin said.
"I would like to commend the GACSA members and volunteers on the regional task forces for their continued commitment to decreasing the prevalence of substance abuse in West Virginia. I whole-heartedly support many of GACSA's recommendations and I am grateful for their help."
"The Regional Task Forces have been instrumental in identifying problems in smaller communities. Their participants have reported improvements, such as establishing Drug Take Back sites in every region, and improved collaboration and coordination across systems of education, child protective services, law enforcement, corrections, mental health and treatment," DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling said.
The report highlights Gov. Tomblin's legislative allocation of $7.5 million for substance use prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery.
To date, funding has been used to develop high priority services in non-served areas. This includes additional Detoxification Stabilization Units (D-CSU), a Non-Treatment Recovery Residence, an expanded intensive outpatient site, and the development of six Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) sites that will provide early intervention to at-risk substance users.
The report states West Virginia experienced its first decrease in prescription drug abuse since 2008.
The report also focuses on a number of accomplishments pertaining to GACSA's Strategic Action Plan-including the following:
- provided technical assistance and training on best practices and current trends in substance abuse at national, state and community levels;
- partnered with Montana State University through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide training and support to McDowell and Wyoming Counties to increase positive community norms;
facilitated, provided data and content information for 11 rounds of Governor's Regional Task Force and 6 Governor's Advisory Council on Substance Abuse meetings in 6 regions nearing 3,000 participants resulting in recommendations made to the Governor and significant substance abuse-related legislation passed;
- facilitated 6 Regional Workforce Roundtables to determine current resources and drug-free work culture and provide education to top employers from across WV;
- continued partnership with Public Health and the WV Department of Education to support "whole health" wellness initiatives in schools and communities across the state;
- partnered with the Office of Maternal Child and Family Health, Benedum Foundation and WV Perinatal Partnership to begin program implementation for the Moms and Babies Programs in South Charleston, Lewisburg, Morgantown, Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs with an additional research program at CAMC regarding alcohol exposure on the developing fetus;
expanded Peer/Recovery Network through training and certification processes including the integration of faith based organizations as recovery support institutions.
Established by Executive Order on September 2, 2011, the GACSA includes state agency leaders; state and local law enforcement officials; experts in behavioral medicine, substance abuse and prevention; faith-based community members; and a range of health care professionals. The Executive Order also established six statewide Regional Substance Abuse Task Forces that involve local elected officials, service providers, and the general public.
Each Regional Task Force meets quarterly and receives updates from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities (BBHHF). By reviewing local needs, available data, and regional resources, the BBHHF can identify service gaps and priorities for addressing substance abuse issues in each area of the state.
Amy Shuler Goodwin