Dr. Gupta discusses drug recovery efforts in West Virginia

On Thursday, Dr. Rahul Gupta traveled to Hurricane, Charleston, and Huntington to talk with state and local leaders about drug recovery efforts.
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Dr. Rahul Gupta made several stops Thursday across the Mountain State, listening and engaging with people in the community about drug recovery efforts.

It’s no easy task, however Dr. Gupta’s discussion with youth leaders of the Putnam Wellness Coalition shines a light on making sure children from a young age have the help they need.

“We want to invest in that,” Dr. Gupta said.

He announced a new round of federal grant money to support multiple organizations in West Virginia, including the Logan County Prevention Coalition.

“What this is going to mean is so many of these kids are going to have an opportunity to now have the prevention resources at their fingertips,” Dr. Gupta said.

“This funding will allow us to use evidence-based practices to bring into schools, which is what captures attention and stays with our children and our youth to be able to make some change,” said Lisa Zappia, chief executive officer at Prestera Center.

Then, in a round-table discussion at the state Capitol, Dr. Gupta joined several state and local leaders as well as local law enforcement. This discussion brought up obstacles people who are in the drug recovery journey may be facing, such as lack of reliable transportation for those wanting to seek counseling or participate in helpful programs.

Dr. Gupta also heard stories from neighbors like CeCe Brown, talking about losing her son due to drugs.

“Before he died, we weren’t speaking about it at all. So, this is not something we were doing before. This is important for people to come together and have conversations. That’s how you learn,” Brown said.

In addition to taking the time to learn and understand through active discussions, Dr. Gupta hopped in the car to see efforts being done first hand.

He rode along with the Quick Response Team in Huntington, visiting communities and getting a first look at what they go through.

“It makes me proud of our QRT team to come here and see what we’ve done. We’ve made major accomplishments. We’re one of the first in the country to do something like this and obviously we’re making a difference,” said Gordon Merry, director of Cabell County EMS.

So, although Dr. Gupta will soon finish his visit in West Virginia, he’s taking these discussions back to the White House-- ready to plan for the future.

“As I take back this experience, it helps me advise President Biden as how do we move forward,” Dr. Gupta said.

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