KEYSER - Several speakers kept the crowd at the Keyser High School theater riveted Thursday evening as they told their stories of how they had been affected by the current drug epidemic - either through working with EMS and law enforcement or as an addict.

KEYSER - Several speakers kept the crowd at the Keyser High School theater riveted Thursday evening as they told their stories of how they had been affected by the current drug epidemic - either through working with EMS and law enforcement or as an addict.

Sen. Joe Manchin, who had been called to the White House for President Trump's declaration of a national public health emergency earlier in the day, opened the meeting by speaking to the crowd via Skype.

Mineral County medical examiner Chris Guynn then spoke about working with overdose patients as an EMS provider and medical examiner, and retired Major Jim Pyles, currently serving as director of safety and security with the Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene, spoke about his days working with addicts as a Maryland State Police officer and administrator.

Rick Hamilton, a recovering addict from Allegany County, closed the program by telling his story of addiction, relapse, and finally, recovery.

The meeting was hosted by Keyser High School and the Mineral County Healthy Lifestyles Coaltiion, and KHS principal Mike Lewis served as the  moderator for the program.

Sen. Manchin, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the Mineral County Board of Education, Mineral County Sheriff's Department and Keyser High School worked together to present the program, with local sponsors being the Mineral County Health Department, Mineral Daily News Tribune, Microtel Inn & Suites, ONTRACK, Reed's Drug Store and Western Maryland Health System.

For further in-depth coverage, see Saturday's News Tribune.