West Virginia students address opioid addiction concerns with Senator Manchin

West Virginia

Senator Joe Manchin spoke with high school students at Shepherd University in the Recovery Academy addressing concerns surrounding addiction and recovery.

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va (WDVM) — While students were off Wednesday at Washington High School they spent their day skyping with Senator Joe Manchin (WV-D) about the opioid crisis in West Virginia.

At Shepherd University, high school students are tackling some important issues West Virginia is facing.

“My brothers and other members of my family have struggled with addiction,” said high school senior Emily Anclair.

The Recovery Coach Academy is a program that trains high school students to become peer youth and recovery life coaches. 

“I wish that I had a program like this when I was going through my struggles,” said Anclair.

The session gave students the opportunity to address their concerns via skype with Manchin. One of their main concerns is the current law in West Virginia that someone can only be a recovery coach if they have faced addiction themselves. 

Marti Steiner, Vice President of Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment, also known as GRACE is the lead facilitator for the Recovery Coach Academy and says this law needs to be addressed.

“I really truly feel that this class and the networking that comes from it is going to be important to the way our communities recover…so we’re just hoping that number one language is looked at so that these students can and will be eligible to become recovery coaches when they turn 18 or when they graduate,” said Steiner. 

Manchin says that he will look into why West Virginia does not follow federal law when it comes to who can become a recovery coach and recognizes the limitations this puts on young people such as Emily who seek to make a difference

” I want people to know that it’s okay to go to somebody.. you know it may be uncomfortable to talk about it but it really does help to talk to somebody when you’re going through stuff like this,” said Anclair.

If you or someone you know is battling addiction call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services National helpline 1-800-662-HELP.

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