Western Regional Day Report Center
Phone: (304) 781-0221
Facsimile: (304) 781-0223
801 4th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
The Heroin-Ravaged City Fighting Back
A city in West Virginia is targeting the drugs companies that it blames for its epidemic.
Drugs are killing so many people in West Virginia that the state can’t keep up with the funerals
Deaths in West Virginia have overwhelmed a state program providing burial assistance for needy families for at least the fifth year in a row, causing the program to be nearly out of money four months before the end of the fiscal year, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). Funeral directors in West Virginia say the state's drug overdose epidemic, the worst in the nation, is partly to blame.
West Virginia's indigent burial program, which budgets about $2 million a year for funeral financial assistance, had already been under pressure from the aging of the baby-boom generation. The program offers an average of $1,250 to help cover funeral expenses for families who can't otherwise afford them.
In the current fiscal year ending June 30, "1,508 burials have been submitted for payment through the Indigent Burial Program,” according to Allison Adler, a spokesman for state DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch. “There are funds remaining for 63 additional burials.” Read More >
This drug dealer’s heroin was so powerful that it led to 26 overdoses in a single day
The man responsible for more than two dozen heroin overdoses — which all occurred in one day in a state deemed the ground zero for the opioid epidemic — faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Bruce Lamar Griggs, 22, pleaded guilty on Monday to distribution of heroin, about six months after 26 people overdosed in Huntington, a city in the southwest corner of West Virginia. The 911 calls came within hours of one another, the majority of which concerned overdoses in and around one apartment complex.
Federal prosecutors say Griggs, known as “Benz” or “Ben,” admitted supplying heroin to all 26 people, who overdosed immediately after taking the drugs. Laboratory tests of blood and urine samples showed traces not only of heroin, but also of fentanyl and carfentanil — synthetic opioids that are exponentially more powerful than heroin or morphine. Read More >
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