University of Charleston

Charleston, W.Va.— The City of Charleston’s Coordinated Addiction Response Effort (CARE) announced a partnership with the newly established West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) at the University of Charleston to expand prevention, recovery and outreach services for substance use disorder (SUD). The partners will collect data and conduct analysis to identify gaps in services, expand and evaluate the Quick Response Team (QRT) program and conduct outreach with comprehensive resources for educators, first responders, employers, those in recovery and individuals seeking recovery. 

“The partnership between CARE and WV DII will help coordinate, enhance and expand efforts to address the impact of SUD on individuals, families and communities throughout Charleston,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “This work is critical to addressing the opioid crisis and creating solutions for a problem that affects folks throughout our city, state and country.”

“Our goal is to work together to utilize information collected through listening sessions, meetings with key stakeholders, aggregated overdose data, and research on best practices used across the country to inform a joint strategy for addressing substance use disorder in our City and the surrounding community,” explained Dr. Susan Bissett, President of the WVDII. 

WVDII and the City have co-hosted eight listening sessions with stakeholders in the Charleston community to better understand gaps in services, identify successful programs and policies and explore creative solutions to combating SUD. The partners have also met with over 40 stakeholders across the city working to address challenges associated with SUD.

Goals of this partnership will include reducing the number of overdoses, overdose deaths and individuals in active addiction and preventing initial drug use. The partnership will create a team that is able to work in tandem to develop a strategic response to this complex issue.

About CARE:

The City of Charleston’s Coordinated Addiction Response Effort (CARE) is an initiative launched in 2019 by the Mayor’s Office to coordinate, enhance, and expand efforts to address the impact of SUD on individuals, families and communities in Charleston, West Virginia. CARE aims to work closely with organizations across the City to reduce the number of overdoses, overdose deaths, and individuals in active addiction and to prevent initial drug use. CARE will bring key stakeholders together to increase the availability of high-quality treatment options and reduce barriers to accessing treatment, expand outreach and offer support services to individuals in active addiction as well as family members and peers of those facing SUD and create an engaging and caring community to prevent addiction in future generations. 

About WVDII:

The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) at the University of Charleston is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission of the WV DII is to reduce deaths in West Virginia from opioid and drug abuse by being (a) an independent advocate for life-enhancing drug policies, and practices, (b) a hub for coordinating drug response activities, and (c) an educational center to address the prevalence of drug abuse and the stigma of drug addiction. The Institute is housed at the University of Charleston in West Virginia’s state capital and is designed to: identify and assess best practices through research and data analysis, provide education programs on prescription drug safety, collaborate with municipalities and agencies to promote best practices to prevent overdose deaths, advocate for policies that promote educational and employment opportunities for those in recovery, and identify and implement prevention strategies.