Nov. 16, 2023 – “When we’re running a county and we have incarcerated individuals who need access to medication to help their brain get better so that they can become more productive members of our society on the other side of that incarceration experience, that’s my job to have that conversation,” Harrison said, noting that some county officials aren’t sold on the levels of treatment necessary to help people struggling with addiction.

At the same time, the lack of treatment capacity can inspire unwitting migration in rural counties, as Arlene Hudson, a behavioral health clinical liaison for Aetna Insurance in West Virginia pointed out.

“If you’re shipped from Mercer County all the way up to the northern panhandle [in West Virginia], that could be seven hours away,” she said. “Everybody talks about brain drains and how, in our rural communities, we’re losing our children because they’re moving away. Another way we’re losing our children is because they’re being taken out of their community and either put into residential treatment facilities in a completely different community or even out of state. Some of them never come back.”