There are many societal issues and life events that contribute to West Virginia's addiction and overdose crisis. Research at the university can help address these problems and create a healthier West Virginia.


‘Pain is always a perception’: Physical therapy can help prevent, treat opioid use disorder

When you think of ways to treat opioid use disorder, you might think methadone clinics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. You probably don’t imagine stretches and strengthening exercises. But Anne Swisher—professor at the WVU School of Medicine—is working to address opioid misuse in an unconventional way: through physical therapy.

Childhood trauma especially common among rural women with substance use disorders

Erin Winstanley, associate professor in the WVU School of Medicine Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry and Department of Neuroscience, led a study finding that rural women with substance use disorders may have experienced significantly more childhood trauma than their male counterparts.

WVU researcher to study fentanyl test strips as an opioid overdose prevention strategy

West Virginia University researcher Dr. Judith Feinberg, a Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry professor with the School of Medicine, will co-lead a study to learn more about the off-label use of rapid response fentanyl test strips as an opioid overdose prevention strategy.

Fighting opioids with an unlikely supplemental painkiller: anti-itch medicine

What if doctors could prevent opioid addiction with opioids? Shane Kaski, a graduate student in the WVU School of Medicine, explored how supplementing morphine—a highly addictive opioid—with a less addictive opioid may increase each drug’s effectiveness. The lower doses that result could mean fewer side effects and less risk of addiction.

WVU researchers study effects of new opioid law on doctors, pharmacists, patients

In 2017, West Virginia healthcare providers wrote 81.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 state residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national average? Just 58.7. Treah Haggerty and Cara Sedney—researchers in the WVU School of Medicine—are studying how a West Virginia law changed the way healthcare providers prescribe opioids.

WVU receives national award for excellence in military pain medicine

WVU’s Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the WVU Medicine Center for Integrative Pain Management’s efforts to improve military pain medicine care for soldiers in the field, including develop better methods of treating pain amid a national opioid epidemic, were recognized by a national award for excellence in military pain medicine.

WVU receives CDC award to curb vaping and opioid abuse, improve health outcomes in West Virginia

West Virginia University’s efforts to address chronic disease and substance abuse prevention, growing concerns related to vaping and youth mental health issues will be bolstered by an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund the West Virginia Prevention Research Center in the School of Public Health.

WVU to partner with Pitt to study opioid use in Appalachia

West Virginians may gain better access to investigational approaches to managing and preventing substance use disorders related to the ongoing opioid epidemic as part of a collaborative $5.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

WVU joins WVSSAC in historic collaborative effort to fight state’s opioid epidemic

With West Virginia leading the nation in opioid related deaths, five of the state’s most influential institutions are joining with the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission to increase awareness of the issue and possible solutions.

Ye awarded $1 million to develop AI technologies to combat opioid epidemic, trafficking

Yanfang (Fanny) Ye, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering at West Virginia University, has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Justice in support of her work to develop novel artificial intelligence techniques to combat the opioid epidemic and trafficking.

WVU researcher investigates risk for opioid overdose in rural West Virginia

Based at West Virginia University’s Eastern Campus in Martinsburg, Joy Buck, a WVU School of Nursing professor, and her collaborators will gather real-time data about overdose trends and assess the cultural barriers to—and facilitators of—overdose prevention. The findings gleaned from her pilot project may prove useful in other rural areas across the nation.

Four factors predict chronic opioid use, suggests study by WVU researchers

Four factors increase the odds that a patient will wind up on chronic opioid therapy, suggests research led by Nilanjana Dwibedi, an assistant professor in the WVU School of Pharmacy. It was the first study to investigate the risk of transitioning to incident chronic opioid use among patients with noncancer pain.

Collaboration key to managing dental pain without opioids

The WVU School of Dentistry will be at the forefront of exploring potential ways of changing the way we can improve lives, eliminate or reduce pain and anxiety, while at the same time meeting the opioid crisis head on by greatly reducing and eventually removing the need for such medications from our pharmacologic inventory and treatment plans.