Opioid abuse has a spiral effect on poor health, loss of jobs, and generational effects on our children.
As a physician, through listening to and learning from my patients, I have first hand knowledge of the struggles of opioid abuse in our region. I have been involved with many patients who have been struggling with opioid abuse and who are working to become drug free.
My goal is to increase funds to help people who are struggling with drug abuse in West Virginia. We need more treatment facilities and counseling programs available in the smaller towns that are most affected. Most of the people in these hard hit areas do not have the transportation to seek help.
In addition to pharmacological and psychological treatment, people need help with returning to society, help in reentering the workforce, and education. As their family, friends, and neighbors we need to support them in their transition toward wellness and productivity.
Without proper health care options, West Virginians will not be healthy to return and stay at work.
With the expansion of the Affordable Care Act we have been able to help more people in West Virginia gain access to basic health care. West Virginia needs to continue providing health care, especially preventive health care. We must keep in mind that government assistance is not a lifetime solution, but a bridge to being self-sufficient.
My goal is to help people become more independent, through better health and education, so that they can return to work.
2. Improving Education
We have lost funding to our school systems because of a decrease in population.
As a result, West Virginia will have one less voice in Congress, losing southern West Virginia’s Third District, in 2020.
We cannot improve our education if we keep losing funding and redistributing school zones. We need to find ways to improve our educational system despite such loss of funds. I encourage after-school programs and summer programs to help educate our youth.
In addition to taking breaks during the summer, we must continue to educate our children, provide nutritional guidance, and motivate our youth to stay in West Virginia to give back to our state. Volunteers could be part of this solution.
Rethinking drug prevention education
We need to rethink how we teach our youth about the harms of drug abuse, and do so early in their education.
I plan to reinforce support for existing programs, and begin new programs, as early as junior high school to teach students how to avoid drugs, and how to stay in school.
3. Reviving the Economy
West Virginians Are Great for Business
The opioid crisis is an obstacle for southern West Virginia’s workforce. Many people fail drug tests or cannot keep their job because of drugs.
I plan to work with local health officials, community groups, and businesses to comprehensively address this challenge.
Invest in West Virginia
We need to make it clear that West Virginia is open, and a winning place, for future business and investments. In addition to supporting our coal-mining professionals and their families, I am listening to what southern West Virginian’s want for our economic future and what we need to do now to get there. We have the natural resources, and local knowledge, to be leaders in the U.S., and the world, on how to improve a region’s economy.
Our future is bright, but we need action now. I plan to work with local communities, educators, and businesses to learn what skills are needed to match available employment, and what can be done to bridge any gaps.
— Ayne Amjad