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Substance Use Disorder Recovery Symposium & Opening Remarks by Mayor




City of Buckhannon’s Mayor David McCauley provides opening remarks and greetings at the symposium on Friday.

Good morning & welcome to Buckhannon & what I’m sure will prove to be an outstanding conference as we all continue to work together to address our terrible drug epidemic in West Virginia- “our” being the key word, as we all own this crisis, we have all been impacted by it, & only by coming together can we improve.

My family has a personal stake in addressing the horror of addiction while recognizing the immense toll it his taken, & continues to take on our society.  My family is not the only one that has been impacted by the current epidemic. Many others associated with our City & College families have battled this terror with their loved ones.

Our City’s position in dealing with all things drugs since 2016- has been a balanced one where we are sensitive both to our community-at-large that is impacted by the nuisance & threatening elements of people here using drugs including theft, vandalism, assaults, DUI’s, & other mindless acts perpetrated by our addicts. Thus some of our programs are purposed at supporting law enforcement & our criminal justice system; but also recognizing that as a society, the more support that may be rendered in helping addicts to find their way toward recovery, regaining our lost souls if you will- is a highly legitimate goal that we all should embrace, that is, returning our addicts to being contributing members of our society.  

Our City has implemented programs that have furthered both goals.  After years of discussing participation in a multi-jurisdiction, drug task force, Buckhannon was a primary organizer of the Mountain Lakes Drug Task Force that has resulted in many investigations leading to arrests & incarceration.  In a number of cases, the criminal justice processes have provided that epiphany of recovery for addicts. We have expanded our police patrols of suspicious areas. In an attempt to take back neighborhoods, Buckhannon adopted its comprehensive Drug House Ordinance which has had a positive impact.  Permissive landlords are often a substantial contributor to our drug problem. Just last evening, our City announced the resumption of neighborhood watch programs.

On the side of compassion & support for addicts seeking recovery, we have collaborated with St. Joseph’s Hospital/WVU Medicine, Community Care, & of course Opportunity House- to support grants that have had a positive impact.  We have collaborated with Matt Kerner & Opportunity House to support the annual HAHA event, that is Hope And Help Assembly. Two years ago our City launched our HOPE Project, standing for Health, Opportunity, Place, & Employment.  Our City & several collaborating business partners are hiring recovering addicts to help instill that sense of hope. We have sponsored many public forums where we have viewed award-winning documentaries about the drug epidemic followed by community discussion.

We still have to deal with those brainiacs on social media who take pop shots at these efforts, failing to recognize the complexities of the issues, while offering no solutions.  The so-called “war on drugs” was launched by our federal government in 1971, & some claim that nearly two trillion dollars have been expended on the federal “war,” mostly through building more jail cells, but where has that gotten us as a society?  We must evolve as a society beyond mere cliches such as “Just say No,” or “This is your brain on drugs.” We have to be more than a slick marketing campaign or a clever commercial.  

We appreciate your attendance today, as conversation & understanding shall be the foundation of our improvement.  Thanks- for being here, & being part of solutions. Enjoy Buckhannon!  

–Mayor David W. McCauley

Following Mayor McCauley’s opening remarks, the conference got underway with speakers representing various agencies that collaborate to address the significant substance use disorder problem in the state.

Bob Hansen, Executive Director and State Task Force Chair on Drug Policy
Keynote speaker, Betsy Ellis Jividen, discusses the substance use disorder crisis and correlating mitigation strategies at West Virginia correctional facilities. Jividen serves as the Commissioner for the WV Division of Corrections & Rehabilitation.
Attendees and presenters discuss substance use disorder and best practices to provide care and recovery options.
An attendee asks for advice from Jividen and Hansen.

According to the event program, the WVa Recovers Planning Team aims to support community education & involvement, provide up to date research, share information on resources, and promote an integrated approach to substance use disorder recovery. West Virginia Wesleyan faculty members, including Dr. Susan Aloi, Dr. Bruce Anthony, Dr. Theresa Poling, Prof. Travis Zimmerman, formed the planning team and hosted the event at the Performing Arts Center at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.

Full program here:

For general questions and media inquiries, contact Bruce Anthony at or Susan Aloi at