Those on front lines of drug fight weigh in on Trump opioid plan - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Those on front lines of drug fight weigh in on Trump opioid plan


BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) In October, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. His plan focuses on border security, public awareness campaigns, and training for federal health care providers. 

But does it do enough to stem the tide of illegal pills? 

According to Brian's Safehouse founder Leon Brush, leaders have come a long way in cutting of the supply of these drugs, but said Wednesday a greater focus is needed on addressing the demand.

"People want to fix it. But they want to fix it remotely," explained Brush. 

James Gwinn, a resident at Brian's Safehouse, is a prime example. He describes himself as a hardworking man with a good job and family, but he could not beat his battle with addiction by himself. 

"I tried to do it on my own and it's just impossible. It's just too big a mountain to overcome alone." 

It was not until Gwinn started living at Brian's Safehouse, a year-long inpatient recovery program that he was able to cut off his brain's demand for alcohol and Suboxone. 

"With Suboxone, when I quit taking it, I felt sick. Someone said you're sick, you're dose sick," said Gwinn. 

According to Brush, the problem with medication-assisted recovery is it does not address the underlying cause of addiction and in many cases can actually contribute to the problem. 

"The secret is isolating the person that's caught up in substance abuse so they can't harm themselves or the community that they're in." 

It is no secret West Virginia counties have some of the highest overdose rates in the nation. Yet in a sea of addicts, Brush said there are very few in-patient recovery centers to take addicts in. 

"Their brain has held them hostage. And they are unable to break the chain. 

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