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Tomblin proposes 24-hour drug abuse call center

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time, West Virginians with questions about behavior health services will have a place to call at all hours of the day and night.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that the state plans to set up a 24-hour call center that will refer people to treatment programs and facilities across the state.

“The center will create a centralized access resource for behavioral health needs in West Virginia and address the top two identified barriers for individuals seeking services: access and navigation,” said Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling in a statement.

Workers at West Virginia’s first Behavioral Health Referral and Outreach Call Center will monitor a database that tracks patient-care options, such as the availability of beds at residential facilities across the state. The referral database will be updated daily.

Tomblin said the call center would help combat the state’s problem with substance abuse. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation — and the seventh-highest suicide rate…

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