CHARLESTON, W.Va — The Charleston area is facing a deadly epidemic. Heroin use and overdoses have been increasing, and officials say they want to put a stop to it.

The Heroin Eradication Associated Task Force met Thursday to discuss ways the public can help end the problem.

“It’s such a large problem that law enforcement can’t solve it on their own. They need help, they need the public’s help. It’s in everyone’s best interest,” said Terry Sayre, chairman of H.E.A.T.

Mark Strickland, captain and paramedic with the Charleston Fire Department, said the epidemic does not only impact those close to the drug.

“We have a finite number of resources to go out and deal with issues. There are still people having heart attacks, there are still car wrecks, there are still women in labor, there are still people on home oxygen that are short of breath. On top of everything else we have to do, now we’re also tackling a drug epidemic of heroin use in the Kanawha Valley,” Strickland said.

Naloxone, commonly called Narcan, is the drug given to heroin overdose victims. According to Strickland, from June 1st to July 22nd, Narcan was administered 36 times in the area. Seven of those cases were confirmed heroin cases. Of those 36 incidents, 15 were located on the West Side, 15 came from the area of Kanawha City, Fort Hill and South Hills, and six were from the East End.

Not only is this problem costing human lives, it’s costing money. Officials said each two milliliter dose of Narcan costs around $20. “In a year, we’ve given out about a 250 CC bag. That’s a drinking glass. That’s a kitchen glass out of your cabinet,” Strickland said.

H.E.A.T members said they hope the public will step up and keep an eye out for ways to help end the problem.

“Take care of each other. If you have a family member that’s on this stuff, get them help. Sign them up for rehab today. The public as a whole should look at themselves. Look at your family, look at your neighbors. If you think there’s something rotten in your neighborhood, call the police,” Strickland said.

There are specific things to look for.

“If you notice that a family member, a friend, whomever, starts having needle marks up their arm, they have little bruises on the inside of their elbow that they just don’t want to explain, or it looks like they went to the hospital for a lot of shots, take note of that,” Strickland said.

“Just flat out ask them. You can be alive and in trouble, or you can be a heroin user and dead. That’s where it ends. At the end of the day, you’ll die from an overdose”.

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  • James Messenger do3snt work for the young maj8rity. 18 to 30 need Buprenorphine treatment or else they use until death. No matter how many h7ndred year old steps or ideals we shove wt them.....and then you act surprised when they keep using. I hope all of your kids become addicts to opiates. Its not like treatment for all other drugs. You just keep spewing harsh insensitive ignorance and watch it get worse.

  • James Messenger

    Well. Buprenorphine is saving lives. It saved me from death for sure and numerous others. But. What does wv do? Makes it hard to get! A doctor has to get certified and practice a year and THEN they can still only see 100 patients. They kick them out for smoking weed and stuff when it happens. Hoop after hoop aftrr hoop. The wait lists are years long thanks to this. Not to mention wv required the super expensive brand name fiom until just recently thanks to mysepf and thr NAABT. All im saying is.... you want to fix this problem to the best of your abilit??? Make Buprenorphine more available instead of just letting thrm die waiting for a doctor. If I was to see a dr for pain pills of any kind......they could see me right now and have thousands of patients....not juet 100.

    Wake up....stop just stigmatizing addicts, and look at the facts. I mean....wv doesnt even have a treatment center!! Not that rehab will work for the majority of people but cm on. Lets just yell at them and telo them its their fault when they fail. Thatll work.


  • Mr.P

    Let the dummies die and save the taxpayers money.

  • craig from Mink Shoals

    Aaron hit the nail on the head....there is a shortage of rehab centers that people can afford!

  • Ricky

    Why are we wasting taxpayer dollars and public resources on these wastes of life? If they want to kill themselves, let them. The trash will take itself out and the problem will eventually resolve itself.

    • girl from mink shoals

      I agree, let the useless trash die. Who cares?

      • jethro

        hope you dont live in a glass house.
        and pray one of your family members never get addicted

  • Aaron

    “Take care of each other. If you have a family member that’s on this stuff, get them help. Sign them up for rehab today."

    Besides the fact that a sober person cannot cure an addict, the addict has to want help, the biggest problem is the lack of in-house treatment facilities in WV. If H.E.A.T truly wants to address this as well as other drug problems them lobby for mor treatment centers in the state.

    • hillbilly

      Also the fact that some treatment facilities charge almost $40,000 for an 8 week stay. Most addicts have no money and have bled their relatives dry also.

      • Scott rehab is out of reach except for high paid celebrities. There is no real rehab in this state.