HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Public listening sessions regarding the prevention, treatment and recovery needs of individuals and communities affected by opioid/substance use hosted by Marshall and other health agencies begin Thursday morning.

The Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery along with partners Prestera Center, Westbrook Health Services, local county coalitions and Family Resource Networks will be at the Calhoun County Board of Education at 10 a.m. to kick off a two-week tour, spanning five counties.

Marshall University

Amy Saunders

“We want to hear from people from those communities who want to come and have these conversations about services, service gaps and what are some opportunities that might be there and what opportunities and plans can we make moving forward,” Amy Saunders, the Managing Director of Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery told MetroNews.

Saunders added they are looking for stakeholders to come out to the federal HRSA grant-funded meetings such as business leaders, individuals in recovery, workers in prevention such as the school system, healthcare workers, and therapists.

At the listening sessions, attendees will be asked to talk about community resources, their strengths, and gaps in care, and what the priorities should be for service development, per release.

The public listening sessions schedule after Calhoun:

– Roane County, Tuesday, Nov. 19, Noon.

Roane County High School Room 5, 1 Raider Way, Spencer, WV 25276.

– Mason County, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 3 p.m.

Mason County Courthouse Annex, 200 Sixth Street, Point Pleasant, WV 25550.

– Ritchie County, Thursday, Nov. 21, Noon.

2479 Ellenboro Rd. Ste. D, Harrisville, WV 26362.

– Jackson County, Friday, Nov. 22, 2 p.m.

WVU JGH Hospital Learning Center, 122 Pinnell Street, Ripley, WV 25271.

Saunders hopes the results from the listening sessions could come to fruition in the spring.

“Hopefully there will be opportunities to apply for future funding in the spring to look at doing some implementation around some of the things that the community, the stakeholders and the people who live there what they want to do,” she said.

The center has been working on collecting preliminary data before starting the sessions, focusing on what services they already have. Saunders also said there is an online survey for stakeholders in these communities to take that is separate from the public sessions.

The survey focuses on gaps in needs and services in opioid treatment and recovery and she encourages everyone to take it.