October 25, 2022
WV STATE NEWS
CHARLESTON, WV - A bipartisan group of candidates running for city council in Charleston say the city needs to tackle the region's drug crisis by decriminalizing cannabis and supporting harm-reduction programs. Joe Solomon, a community organizer and Democratic Charleston City Council candidate, said addressing the region's substance-use issues will help keep young people safe and out of jail. He added the effort to put community needs over politics is the only way residents will keep their communities safe. "We got here, we became the nation's overdose capital, because we criminalized harm reduction and criminalized care," Solomon contended. Solomon added Charleston's city budget includes zero funding for drug treatment. A severe HIV outbreak in Kanawha County last year prompted a response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency recommended expanding and improving access to clean syringes, testing, and substance-use treatment to halt the spread of disease.
References: Charleston Can't Wait 2022 Budget City of Charleston 03/15/2021 HIV data CDC 01/14/2022 HIV information W.Va. Dept. of Health and Human Resources 08/03/2021 Broadband report FCC 01/19/2021