West Virginia Nurses Association

Opioid Epidemic: West Virginia Nurses Respond

Posted 8 months ago by Julie Huron

Opioid Epidemic: West Virginia Nurses Respond 


West Virginia continues to suffer from the highest rate of drug overdose mortality in the nation. The number of West Virginia overdose deaths climbed to more than 1,000 for the first time in 2017. More than 86% of those deaths involved opioids.  This tragic epidemic has taken a significant toll on individuals, families, communities and government resources.  Despite massive statewide initiatives there seems to be no end in sight. The World Health Organization tells us by 2020 mental and Substance Use Disorders (SUD) will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability and death. Addiction is the most serious health problem facing West Virginia and our nation. Its time for Nurses to take action.


With more than 30,000 registered nurses in the state of WV we must begin to ask ourselves “What are we doing” to combat this epidemic? Nurses touch more lives than any other health profession. We are on the frontlines of patient care in every healthcare setting and we are the most trusted of all health professions.  We have the power to turn the tide on this opioid epidemic and its time we step up and respond.


The International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) is a global organization established to promote leadership, professional development, and clinical practice in the field of addiction science.  There are IntNSA chapters across the country and worldwide.  Advanced Specialty in Addiction Registered Nursing is providing opportunities for nurses to take the lead in addiction science and nurses across the country are becoming Certified Addiction Registered Nurses (CARN, CARN-AP).


What do Addiction Nurses do? 


Addiction nurses Save Lives by globally impacting the negative effects of alcohol and other drug use.  Working across a full continuum of care including health promotion, prevention, treatment and recovery Addiction Certified Registered Nurses (CARN) care for people every step of the way on their journey toward long-term recovery. Addiction nurses educate, advocate and promote evidence based practices that reduce the health burden of addiction.  Addiction nurses challenge stigma and advocate for recovery.


What is Recovery?


Recovery from Mental Health and/or Substance Use Disorders is defined as


A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential”


The process of recovery is highly personal and occurs via many pathways. It may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based pathways, peer support, family support, self-care, and other approaches. Recovery is characterized by continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness. Because setbacks are a natural part of life, Resilience becomes a key component of recovery. Hope, the belief that ones challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. A person’s recovery is built on his or her strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent values. It is holistic, addresses the whole person and their community and it is supported by peers, friends, and family members.


Expanding Addiction Services and Recovery Support


A West Virginia IntNSA chapter is being established now and we want you to get involved. This chapter will provide support for licensed nurses in WV to become leaders in addiction science. IntNSA promotes leadership, professional development and clinical expertise in addiction science. Through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development IntNSA supports evidence-based care of individuals affected by addictions. IntNSA supports all pathways toward long-term recovery and provides a platform for nurses to be involved at every level.


How can you get involved?


If you are a nurse who cares about West Virginia, its time to get involved.  If you are a nurse who has been impacted by the devastating effects of Addiction and you want to make a difference its time to get involved.  If you are a nurse currently caring for patients with SUD and you want to do more, its time to get involved. Join our WV-IntNSA Chapter and become part of a community of Nurses who are responding to the opioid epidemic in this state.

West Virginia Chapter Formation
Date: 11/29/2018
Meeting Location:
WV Board of Nursing Boardroom
90 MacCorkle Avenue, SW, Suite 203
South Charleston, WV 25303
4-5:30 pm




Contact Ann Bostic DNP, APRN, CRNA