Wellsville is on the verge of a second opioid overdose crisis.
And the city’s chief health officer says the city is on track to exceed its target of dealing with the crisis.
The first crisis hit Wellsburg about a year ago.
More than 100 people died.
And in the last year, the city has seen a sharp increase in overdoses.
The city’s new chief health and human services officer, Maryann Molloy, says the new coronavirus crisis has left Wells County in a bad spot.
She says it has a very high rate of opioid overdose deaths.
“We’re not only dealing with an overdose crisis, but we’re dealing with a high rate that comes in a time when we need to do a better job of reducing the number of overdoses,” she said.
“What we’re seeing right now is we’re kind of dealing in a bit of a Catch-22 situation because we’re already dealing with what was a relatively small amount of overdose in the first place, but it’s just getting worse and worse.”
The city recently created an overdose prevention hotline.
The department says it is also working with local schools and community groups to try to reduce the amount of prescription opioids being taken by students and staff.
But Mollay says that is not enough.
“If we are going to get our communities up and running, we’re going to have to start reducing the amount that we’re prescribing,” she says.
“The opioid epidemic is a very public health issue and we don’t want to lose sight of that.”
Molloy says the county is still working on its opioid strategy and it is a slow process.
“As a county, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” she added.
“It’s not just in the county, but across the state and around the country, we have to really get to grips with the challenge.”
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