For Immediate Release Contact:
June 11, 2018 Erica Ellis Bartling email@example.com
ADDICTION POLICY FORUM LAUNCHES WEST VIRGINIA CHAPTER TO HELP WEST VIRGINIAN FAMILIES IMPACTED BY THE OPIOID CRISIS
State chair, Erica Ellis Bartling, will spearhead statewide efforts
Princeton, WV., June 11, 2018 — The Addiction Policy Forum (APF) announced today the launch of its West Virginia chapter, led by state chair Erica Ellis Bartling of Princeton. The chapter will focus on helping families in crisis and expanding prevention, treatment and recovery across the state of West Virginia.
More than 21 million Americans are suffering from addiction. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 174 lives were lost daily to drug overdose in 2016—the equivalent of a plane crash every day. West Virginia has been hit hard by this epidemic. In 2016, the state saw more than 800 deaths from drug overdoses, and opioids accounted for 83 percent of those fatalities.
“Leaders and families in West Virginia have done a tremendous amount of work to address addiction in communities throughout the state, and we applaud their efforts,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Earlier this year, we learned that 63,600 people died of a drug overdose nationwide in 2016, and West Virginia saw a 25-percent increase in overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016. It is clear more services, treatment and support are needed to help those struggling with substance use disorder. We look forward to working with a broad group of stakeholders to stem the tide of addiction in West Virginia.”
APF understands the need to provide families throughout the country with better resources as well as to help communities develop and implement targeted solutions to address the impact of substance use disorder. The West Virginia chapter will work on education, prevention, treatment, recovery, overdose reversal and criminal justice issues to ensure the full spectrum of solutions is being deployed. The chapter will engage a wide range of stakeholders to create specific action plans, initiate new collaborations and deploy additional localized resources for the direct benefit of all West Virginians.
These efforts will be led by APF’s West Virginia state chair, Erica Ellis Bartling, who resides in Princeton. She is a counselor and child advocate who works with law enforcement, medical and prevention professional across the state of West Virginia to educate, reduce stigma and bring hope to those affected by the opioid crisis. Erica has also been featured in four national magazines for the work she has accomplished regarding Narcan and addiction training in rural communities.
“In 2016, West Virginia had the highest rates of death due to drug overdose and I believe the antidote to addiction is merely connection – a solution and prevention method I use as a support counselor and professional counseling student,” said Bartling. I’m excited to begin implementing APF’s strategic priorities in West Virginia and developing solutions that meet the needs of people in our state.”
APF’s eight strategic priorities include:
Help Families in Crisis: Provide new, effective resources and support for patients and families in crisis.
Expand Treatment Access and Integration into Healthcare: Through partnerships and research, develop resources, protocols and tools for physicians, healthcare systems and the workforce to integrate treatment of substance use disorders into healthcare.
Drive Discovery: Invest in research on how to treat, prevent and cure addiction and its related disorders.
Expand Recovery Support: Properly prioritize and secure resources for the recovery support programs that individuals need in their communities.
Prevention: Increase funding for and the number of prevention programs in West Virginia and nationwide.
Protect Children Impacted by Parental Substance Use Disorder: Expand resources to support children who have a family member with a substance use disorder.
Reframe the Criminal Justice System: Partner with key stakeholders to re-envision how the criminal justice system responds to addiction.
Advocate and Educate: Intensify the urgency around addiction and mobilize bold action through advocacy and engagement.
About Addiction Policy Forum
The Addiction Policy Forum (APF) is a diverse partnership of organizations, policymakers and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction and to improve national policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery and criminal justice reform. We envision a world where fewer lives are lost and help exists for the millions of Americans affected by addiction every day.
Addiction Policy Forum is headquartered in Washington, DC with state chapters throughout the country that are run by family members who have been impacted by addiction. Together, the national organization and state chapters will focus on the implementation of eight strategic focus areas, all of which are critical to ensuring long-term progress against substance use disorders at the national, state and local levels. Addiction Policy Forum’s national and state programs include: the Addiction Resource Center, “What is Addiction?” education initiative, Train the Trainer program, 174aDay awareness campaign and Spotlight Series.
More information on our mission and projects is available at http://addictionpolicy.org.