HURRICANE — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey traveled to Putnam County to continue a faith-based initiative aimed at empowering religious groups across the Mountain State in the fight against substance abuse.
The Attorney General’s “Combating Addiction with Grace” program took place Feb. 20 in Hurricane at River Ridge Church. It followed conferences already held in Martinsburg, Parkersburg, Fairmont, Wheeling, Beckley and Logan.
“The faith-based community plays a big part in fighting this horrible epidemic,” Morrisey said. “We must work together to see significant improvement, and most importantly save the thousands of lives caught in addiction’s grasp.”
The goal was to form an action plan and ideas of how to combat the drug epidemic in each community represented.
“We’re very appreciative of Attorney General Morrisey’s efforts to bring the faith community, agencies and the general public together,” said Bill O’Dell, project director of the Putnam Wellness Coalition. “Attorney General Morrisey’s efforts to bring people together, not just to talk about it, but to take steps to prevent it is monumental.
"With his efforts and the efforts of the people here today, we are going to make a difference.”
The initiative connected faith leaders with law enforcement, first responders, residential treatment and local substance abuse groups among others. Attendees also received resources to help those suffering from opioid abuse and addiction, while expanding their understanding of the statewide impact.
“I think it’s a big step, not just for our area, but the county and the state,” said Mike McCormick, of Made New Ministries at Teays Valley Church of God. “It just shows that we’ve got more support with everything going on in the opiate crisis.
"It’s nice to see all of the people come together because it’s going to take an army to win this battle.”