To produce events with the intent to raise funds to benefit projects and programs that aim to eradicate addiction in the greater Appalachian region.
A prosperous Appalachian region free from addiction.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for people under the age of fifty in the United States. The Appalachian region has been dramatically impacted by the opioid and heroin epidemic. West Virginia in particular, the only state entirely within the Appalachian region, gained national and international notoriety after 26 people overdosed near a housing development in Huntington on August 15, 2016. West Virginia has the highest rate of fatal overdose in the nation. Tragically, rates of death due to overdose have exponentially increased across the country from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, 52 out of 100,000 West Virginia residents fell victim to an accidental overdose. Preliminary data for 2017 shows no improvement according to public health officials despite efforts to make life-saving drugs like Naloxone or Narcan more easily accessible.
The causes for this epidemic are complex. Many sources point to the economic decline and continuing loss of decent jobs through ongoing deindustrialization that has particularly impacted the region. Multiple legal settlements from drug companies to states and local units of government verify that pharmaceutical opioid marketing and prescribing practices set the stage for
opioid and, later, heroin addiction. Topic experts like Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland, point to the decline of community by decreased funding of public services. Indeed, addiction thrives in isolation. However, recovery communities are forming. Many of the same people who have been revived with Naloxone are helping others find recovery. The scourge of the epidemic remains, but there is reason to hope that people and communities can overcome this problem. At present, addiction-related charities receive around $25 million in private funds annually, in contrast to $390 billion given to all charities based on Facing Addiction and Giving USA 2016 data. This is approximately 0.00006 percent of all charitable funds raised.