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Drug overdoses on the rise in Greenbrier County, according to local officials

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GREENBRIER COUNTY W. VA. (WVVA) - Emergency calls related to drug over doses are on the rise in Greenbrier County.

In April, Seneca Health Services logged 11 hours of crisis calls related to drug overdoses. In September, that number had increased to 27 hours, which is a 140 percent increase.

Mary Ann Shires, Director of Crisis and Case Management at Seneca health Services, said this is likely due to layoffs, financial problems, and several other factors caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The hopelessness results in already a problem with drug usage, a problem with depression, a problem with all of the the things that could result in those two areas of concern," said Shires.

These increases are not only impacting the Greenbrier Valley, but also the state as a whole.

West Virginia state Senator Stephen Baldwin said during the first three months of the year, crisis calls related to overdoses increased by ten percent, and that number has only risen since the beginning of the pandemic.

"We have the highest overdose rate in the nation in West Virginia already, this was our public health crisis before the pandemic and it's just been intensified as a result of the pandemic," said Baldwin.

Officials at Seneca encourage the community to reach out for help if they need it because overdoses, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns could happen to anyone at any time.

"I think that people shouldn't be embarrassed, people shouldnt be worried, and people should reach out if they need help, because everybody needs help sometimes," said Shires.

There are resources in the community such as therapists, doctors, detox facilities and others in the community that can help anyone struggling with their mental health.

A full list of these resources are available in the Greater Greenbrier Valley COVID-19 Resource Guide on roncevertepres.org.

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Maria Sellers

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