For the Sake of the Kids: Responding to the Opioid Crisis


Charleston, WV- The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and the West Virginia Adverse Childhood Experiences Coalition will join West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC), and experts from the fields of health care, public education, child protective services and foster/kinship care for an open, honest discussion about West Virginia’s child welfare crisis.

As the drug epidemic continues to grip our state, the toll it takes on children increases. According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), our state is #1 in child removals nationally. There has been a 46 percent increase of children in state custody in only three years, with a 22 percent increase in accepted abuse/neglect referrals to Child Protective Services. According to WVDHHR, 85 percent of open child abuse/neglect cases involve drugs.

This town hall discussion gives attendees the opportunity to listen to a robust conversation from experts working in the systems that care for these children, share ideas, raise concerns, and offer solutions to these increasing challenges.

For the second portion of the event, audience members will have an opportunity to join in the dialogue, ask questions and share their thoughts.

The town hall will be moderated by Dr. Michelle Easton, Dean, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. It will feature representatives from the kids’ health field, including:

  • Dr. Traci Acklin, Pediatrician and President, West Virginia Academy of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Cynthia Persily, CEO of Highland Hospital
  • Jeremiah Samples, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, WVDHHR     
  • Dr. Bondy Gibson, Superintendent, Jefferson County Schools
  • Amy Rickman, Executive State Director, NECCO WV           

From the town hall will come a joint report and policy recommendations to improve the conditions and well-being of kids caught in the middle of the opioid crisis. The event is the last in a series of four that has been held around the state over the last two months.

“We are delighted to partner with the West Virginia Adverse Childhood Experiences Coalition and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care to host this discussion about the impact of the opioid crisis on our most vulnerable citizens – our children.” said Dr. Michelle Easton, Dean UC School of Pharmacy. “It is my hope that by working together and keeping the dialogue open we will continue to identify best practices and implement meaningful solutions to this issue.”

Date: Monday, October 29, 2018

            9am to 12pm

Location: University of Charleston

                   Riggleman Hall          

                   Geary Auditorium

The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided. Registration is encouraged: