Communities & First Responders


  1. Encourage providers, persons at high risk, family members, and others to learn how to prevent and manage opioid overdose.
  2. Ensure access to treatment for individuals who are misusing or addicted to opioids or who have other substance use disorders.
  3. Ensure ready access to naloxone.
  4. Encourage the public to call 911 for individuals experiencing opioid overdose.
  5. Encourage prescribers to use state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis - report cover screenshot A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis
Report from National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities examines how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis. The report also includes recommendations for state and federal officials, who are pivotal partners in local efforts to combat opioid misuse, diversion, overdose and death.


First Responders

5 Essential Steps for Opioid Overdose:

  1. Call for Help (Dial 911)
  2. Check for Signs of Opioid Overdose
  3. Support the Person’s Breathing
  4. Administer Naloxone
  5. Monitor the Person’s Response
Taking Care of Yourself

First Responders are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and burn-out. Check out these tips for taking care of yourself.


SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit - report cover screenshot Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 16-4742. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016.

What Can Faith-Based Communities Do?

  • Stop the stigma through education in your congregation and community. Visit
    • Learn new ways of talking about addiction. Use “person with substance use disorder” instead of “addict,” “person in recovery” instead of “former/reformed Addict/Alcoholic,” and “abstinent,” instead of “clean.”
    • Sponsor training in your community, such as a Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (SBIRT).
    • Sponsor Naloxone training. Contact your local prevention coalition or health department to find out what is already being done and how you can help.
  • Join a prevention coalition in your area.
    • Provide sober community supports, such as helping someone find employment, transportation, or housing.
    • Sponsor a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter for youth in your community.
    • Lock and count your medications. Dispose of unused or expired medications properly.
    • Do not provide alcohol to youth and encourage teens not to use alcohol until 21 years of age.
  • Sponsor Recovery Coach Training and/or become a “Recovery Angel.”
  • Celebrate the WV Day of Hope in your congregation!
Source: WV Council of Churches & Community Impact Coalition Day of Hope Flyer -


The Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit - report cover screenshot The Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit:
Helping Faith-based and Community Leaders Bring Hope and Healing to Our Communities
Click here to view/download

Syringe Services Resources:

National Prevention Week / May 7-13, 2023
Participate in National Prevention Week - May 7-13, 2023
National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders. Communities and organizations across the country come together to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health. Learn more.

National Recovery Month. Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective, People Recover. September 2018.

Join a Prevention Coalition in Your Region!

Region 1:
Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Wetzel
Dara Pond
Youth Services System, Inc.
(304) 233-2045

Region 2:
Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Pendleton
Barbra Masih MS, LPC, NCC, AADC, CRC, PSII
Potomac Highlands Guild

Region 3:
Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt, Wood
Brittany Skeen, B.A.S, PS I
Westbrook Health Services

Region 4:
Barbour, Braxton, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur
Elizabeth Shahan, MSW, LGSW, PSII
West Virginia Prevention Solutions

Region 5:
Boone, Cabell, Clay, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, Wayne
Kim Shoemake, MS
Prestera Center

Region 6:
Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, Webster, Wyoming
Greg Puckett
Community Connections