Cordant and Community Leaders Come Together to Discuss Solutions to West Virginia’s Opioid Crisis

Pictured left to right: Dr. Sangodeyi, Dr McKelvey, Decia Stenzel, Teresa Tate, Elizabeth McCord

BECKLEY, W. Va. (August 21, 2018) – This week, community leaders, including officials from state government, law enforcement, hospitals, health and human services agencies and addiction treatment centers, came together for an important round table discussion about combating the stigma that encompasses opioid use disorder. According to the most recent provisional estimates from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, West Virginia had the highest rate of death in the U.S. due to drug overdose (58.7 per 100,000).

The discussion was led by Mary McKelvey, M.D., and Olu Sangodeyi, M.D., both specialists in addiction medicine, and Teresa Tate, FNP-BC, a certified addiction registered nurse–advanced practice and owner of Anchor Medical. The meeting was facilitated by Cordant Health Solutions™, which provides innovative tools for monitoring and managing behavioral health and chronic pain patients through its unique pharmacy and drug testing programs.

“We believe that we are all part of the solution to the drug epidemic we find ourselves in as a country,” said Decia Stenzel, senior vice president of behavioral health at Cordant. “Being able to facilitate a meeting of community leaders in their different areas of expertise to come together, discuss the issue and the next steps we need to take to try to make a difference is very important and very much needed.”

Law enforcement representatives and legislators in attendance raised concerns that more involvement is needed to help individuals after they have experienced an overdose to help get them into treatment programs, as addicts frequently use drugs again within hours or days of overdosing.

“The drug epidemic is a complex issue that requires the engagement and cooperation of all of the agencies that are here this evening to find a solution,” Stenzel said.

Overall, the attendees agreed that the evening was helpful in beginning a critical and necessary dialogue between the many agencies and practices dealing with the effects of opioid addiction on the community, but that much more work and collaboration is needed. Cordant is working to coordinate a follow-up meeting in the coming months.