Jan Rader - Fire Chief of Huntington, West Virginia

 

Chief Rader serves as the Fire Chief for Huntington, West Virginia. She has been instrumental in combatting the opioid epidemic in Cabell County and has been featured in the Netflix Documentary Heroin(e) and in 2018 was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people. Her TED talk detailing her approach to the crisis can be found here. Her office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 11/5/2019 4:52 AM.

 

If a resident in your city visited your office and said that he or she had some spare time and wanted to volunteer to help alleviate the opioid crisis, what kinds of activities would you recommend?

Mentoring of a child in need, volunteering at multiple churches with programs. We also have many programs throughout the city that accept volunteers.

 

Recently, many overdoses are increasingly due to fentanyl. What can cities do to protect against this newest threat to public health?

Stop by the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and learn how to administer narcan. I recommend carrying narcan at all times.

 

How much support has your city received from federal and state government public health agencies, opioid safety coalitions, elected officials, and nonprofit organizations or foundations?

We have had a lot of support through Federal Grants, the State DHHR, and the CDC. Both Marshall University and WVU are also heavily involved. Our local community leaders, hospitals, faith leaders, and medical providers have come together to put new programs together that are making a difference. ProAct, Project Hope, Lily’s Place, First Steps, Recovery Point and many more.

 

If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?

 

-Mandate SUD and mental health services for everyone incarcerated that is suffering from SUDs.

-PTSD added to workers comp for first responders. They are suffering greatly!

-Expansion of treatment courts.

-Second chance bill revised to make it easier for those in recovery to expunge their record.

 

Are there any additional resources your department could use that would help alleviate the crisis in your city?

Mental Health options for First Responders as well as those that live in our state.

 

Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?

It will take all of us working together to get through this devastating epidemic.