A team of researchers at West Virginia University has received a three-year $1.35 million grant to reduce the impact of substance abuse in three West Virginia counties.
The Appalachian Regional Commission funds the grant. The work will focus on McDowell, Mercer, and Wyoming counties, all of which high rates of HIV, hepatitis B, and C due to drug injections. The project, known as the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, aims to help find employment for people who formerly injected drugs and are from areas ruined by job losses. Dr. Gordon Smith, an epidemiologist in the WVU School of Public Health, is one of the researchers, and he said he and his colleagues are thankful for the funding.