The announcement that WorkForce West Virginia is launching a three-year, $10 million program to provide recovery services and job training to people affected by the state's opioid drug abuse epidemic drew a mixed reaction from The Herald-Dispatch's online readers.

Funded through a federal Department of Labor disaster-relief dislocated-worker grant, the program is designed to assist 300 participants over three years.

Participants who self-attest to being affected by the opioid epidemic will be eligible for a variety of services, including working with peer recovery coaches and with career counselors who will match them with job training for in-demand occupations. The program also will offer supported employment with public or private nonprofit agencies, along with other support services.

Here's what some readers had to say:

Michele Nicole: "It will give people incentives to stay clean. And much needed — awesome!"

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Lyn Moore O'Connell: "Excited for all the workforce development initiatives to help people get back to work! A rising tide lifts all boats!"

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Gary Callicoat: "Great, something else I got to pay for."

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Tyronza Harper: "... how many programs do they need? And problem is still out of control."

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Barbara Garnett: "... wouldn't you rather pay to get them back to work than stay on the streets and on dope?"

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Guidon Grundlehner: "... would you rather keep paying for Narcan and clean needles then?"

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Gary Callicoat: "It really doesn't matter. They will never be clean until we stop supporting their habit."

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Barbara Garnett: "... what this will support is their ability to re-enter society as productive citizens. I fail to see how that is a bad thing."

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Stacey Varney: "AA/NA are free and have the highest success rates in the world, FOR THOSE WHO WANT IT. Can't help people that don't want help."

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Randy Gates: "The idea of fighting addiction with job training is ludicrous. This is CYA by politicians."

School chief's pay sparks comments

Some readers supported the move by West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine to turn down a $4,100 pay raise after it was criticized by the state Senate president, while others questioned whether Paine should be paid his current $230,000 salary.

Paine said he would reject the increase approved by the state Board of Education until other education issues are addressed. Paine said he appreciated the board's decision but said that the raise has become a distraction for students. He said the school system must first address a shortage of teachers and other problems before he would be willing to accept a raise.

Rebecca Bowden: "So proud of this man. His first concern was for our schools. Thank you."

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Ury Mum: "Look at that rich smirk on his face! Makes you just want to slap your tax dollars right back from his chubby cheeks. After what has happened this year, he should resign and pay back all of his unearned wages to West Virginia."

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Jane Mills: "I think that's way too much to begin with."

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Mark Perry: "... walk a month in his shoes and see all the crap he puts up with."

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Jane Mills: "... look at what all the teachers put up with, they need a pay raise."

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Matt Garrett: "How magnanimous of him."

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Tj Carper: "He can turn down his raise, but they all better be signing my raises in!"

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Nicole A. Cofer Fleming: "Wait, why is he making that much to begin with?!?"

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Dakota Weant: "... Because he is the superintendent of schools in WV. What's sad is that he is in a position of power that high up and doesn't even crack a quarter of a million. That goes to show you how poor our state is. It's sad. He should be making much more in my opinion."

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Matt Rowe: "230K and he doesn't have to manage a classroom?"

  

Candy Futrell McCaffery: "I mean because 230,000 isn't really enough already."

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