Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WKU Public Radio is part of a new regional journalism collaborative known as the Ohio Valley ReSource. It's made up of public media stations across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The collaborative will focus on the changing economy in the region and its effect on jobs, healthcare and infrastructure. Each station taking part in the Ohio Valley ReSource is hiring a reporter to contribute to the effort. WKU Public Radio's reporter is Alana Watson, who will be based in the Bowling Green newsroom. The Ohio Valley ReSource is made possible by member stations and through a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.

Trumps Cite Ohio Valley Experience In Opioid Emergency Plan

Courtesy White House, Office of the First Lady

President Donald Trump outlined on Thursday his long-awaited plan to address the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency. Part of that plan was based on experiences in the Ohio Valley region.

In an address at the White House Thursday both President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump mentioned efforts in the Ohio Valley region to help infants affected by the crisis.

Trump said that a hospital nursery in West Virginia treats one in every five babies for symptoms of addiction.

“Because these precious babies were exposed to opioids or other drugs in the womb,” he said.

According to data from the West Virginia Health Statistics Center, 5 percent of babies born in West Virginia last year were born drug-affected.

First Lady Melania Trump spoke about her recent visit to a Huntington, West Virginia, treatment center for infants and mothers called Lily’s Place.

“I learned that to help babies succeed we must help their parents succeed,” she said. “By placing priority on the whole family, Lily’s Place is giving infants the best opportunity.”

Lily’s Place director Rebecca Crowder was in the audience for the address.

The president’s public health emergency declaration could encourage additional resources for treatment facilities. The White House has not yet released details of the emergency plan or how the programs will be funded.

The rate of deaths from opioids in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio is more than twice the national average. On average last year, 15 people died each day in the three-state region from opioid overdoses.

Related Content