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WVDA president attends Obama forum

October 22, 2015

By Jennifer Garvin

Dr. Nibert
Charleston, W.Va. — Dr. Dallas Nibert said it was an honor to be a part of President Barack Obama's Oct. 21 community forum on prescription drug and heroin abuse.

Dr. Nibert, who is president of the West Virginia Dental Association, attended the event on behalf of the ADA.

The forum, held in Charleston's East End neighborhood, brought families touched by addiction together with health care providers, law enforcement officers and community leaders. About 200 in all attended the event which also saw the president issue a memorandum mandating all health care professionals employed by the federal government be trained in responsible opioid prescribing.

Calling the state's drug epidemic devastating, Dr. Nibert said he was impressed by the president's desire to expand emphasis on treating the whole problem — not just the addiction, but how to help people who suffer.

"I think it's going to be really effective," said Dr. Nibert of President Obama's initiative.

Dr. Nibert, 35, is a lifelong West Virginian, who has witnessed the epidemic firsthand. He said many of those touched by opioid abuse and other drug addictions regularly cross his path, be it by way of his dental practice or just being out in the community in Huntington, W.Va.

"Every day I hear of someone or know someone affected by this disease," he said. "It's devastating. "It's sad. What's going to happen to my state in 20 years? Is it going to get worse?"

From the provider perspective, Dr. Nibert said there is an increased focus in West Virginia on making sure health care providers, including dentists, are better trained in dealing with the problem.

"To have the president come to your town and say, 'Let's get these people some help,' it's really amazing. Let's open a door. I think that's the take home message."