First Responder workshop set for April 10 in Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG – A workshop to provide information for first responders about substance abuse disorder is scheduled for April 10 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Fort Boreman meeting room of the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, 317 Market Street.

Speakers will include Dr. James Berry, Dr. Larry Rhodes and Lou Ortenzio. Those first responders wishing to attend and receive lunch must register by April 8 by calling The Community Recovery Center at 304-834-3928. The public is welcome to attend the workshop to hear the speakers.

The workshop is being offered through the What’s Next MOV Group and is geared toward first responders in the Wood County and Washington County areas. Sponsors for the event are the Sister’s Health Foundation, What’s Next MOV group, Wood County Commission and Community Recovery Center.

Jean Ambrose, spokesperson for the MOV group, said the purpose of the event is to provide information on substance use disorder, including learning more about the medical aspects of addiction and the factors which can trigger it and hearing stories of hope and recovery.

Workshop presenters will include: Dr. Berry who will talk about the physical and intellectual effects of substances on the brain, the length of the recovery process and the capacity to recover.

Dr. Berry is an associate profession, director of addictions and vice chair of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia University School of Medicine and the director of addictions. He received his medical degree from Michigan State University, completed a General Psychiatry residence at WVU and an Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Hawaii. He is board-certified in both General Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry.

Dr. Berry and his colleagues at WVU developed an Innovative Medication Assisted Treatment group-based model for opioid use disorder nationally recognized as the “West Virginia Model.” He currently oversees a statewide mentoring project to train primary care clinicians to practice evidence-based substance use disorder treatment in their local communities.

The second presenter will be Dr. Larry Rhodes who will discuss factors prevalent in Appalachia contributing to high substance use disorder numbers.

Dr. Rhodes is the director of the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health and was named the 2013 Rural Health Practitioner of the Year by the National Rural Health Association. He received his medical degree from the WVU School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in pediatrics at WVU and fellowship training in pediatric cardiology and pediatric electrophysiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Before returning to WVU, he spent 10 years working at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. He is now chief of the WVU section of Pediatric Cardiology.

The last presenter will be Lou Ortenzio who will share his story of recovery and hope. He is a former medical doctor who became addicted to opiates. He is currently a pastor and was just named executive director of the Clarksburg Mission. He also serves at the Harrison County Community Corrections/Day Report Center, was involved in starting the local Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery group and is a state representative for Celebrate Recovery, Ambrose said.

The workshop will also include special guests who will share their experiences with substance abuse and their road to recovery.

There will be resource tables set up by local agencies to provide information that can be shared with those who suffer with SUD and their families.

Funding for lunch is being provided by the West Virginia Drug Testing Lab in Parkersburg.