The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Behavioral Health (BBH) and Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) have announced the success of the 2023 Appalachian Save a Life Day. This annual event, held on September 14, 2023, saw an outstanding distribution of free naloxone, an opioid reversal medication, throughout West Virginia and across the Appalachian region.
This year, BBH provided $600,000 worth of naloxone in West Virginia and distributed 29,438 doses to community organizations and individuals across the state. When combined with events in the 12 other states that comprise Appalachia, more than 45,000 naloxone doses were distributed throughout the region as part of National Recovery Month.
“In witnessing the remarkable success of the 2023 Appalachian Save a Life Day, we are reminded of the power of collaboration and compassion,” said Dawn Cottingham-Frohna, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. “This event stands as a testament to our collective commitment to saving lives and fostering hope in our communities. Together, we have taken significant strides in the fight against opioid overdose, and this success fuels our determination to continue this vital work.”
BBH has provided naloxone for the event every year since its inception in 2020. The first annual Save a Life Day was organized by DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy, in partnership with SOAR WV, in two participating counties. In 2022, all 55 West Virginia counties participated, and the 2023 event expanded to include Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“The expansion of Appalachian Save a Life Day across multiple states underscores our relentless pursuit of saving lives and providing hope to those affected by the opioid crisis,” said Rachel Thaxton, Interim Director for DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy. “Together with our partners, we have not only made naloxone more accessible but have also opened the door to a brighter future for individuals and families in need.”
Governor Jim Justice proclaimed September as West Virginia Recovery Month to encourage residents to support recovery efforts by sharing resources including 844-HELP4WV (844-435-7498). Additional information is available at dhhr.wv.gov/bbh and the ODCP website. To view and apply for careers in the behavioral health field, visit dhhr.wv.gov/Pages/Career-Opportunities.aspx.