WV lawmakers want money set aside for drug treatment

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — The Mountain State has one of the worst opioid addiction problems in the nation, and the highest drug over dose death rate. Recently West Virginia’s Attorney general entered into a settlement with drug-maker Mckesson Corporation for 37-million dollars. For the second time in two months Delegates have written Attorney General Patrick Morissey to designate all those funds for treatment.

“Well we are seeing estimates that the entire United States needs six-billion dollars a year, annually, to go tthrough and actually fund the right amount of recovery beds across the country. And if the state’s only going to put a million or two million in annually, it’s just not going to cover what we need,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, (D) Kanawha.

Of the money from McKesson, Curtis Johnson, spokesman for the Attorney General said, in part, quote: “We look to working with the legislature and the governor… and address the many treatment and enforcement needs of our state.” But he won’t commit to putting all the money into recovery programs.

But other Legislators say a portion of money from prescription drug sales, should be earmarked for treatment programs.

“I’ve tried to do it legislatively. I’ve put forward bills that would do that and unfortunately they’ve been voted down. And now it is in the court’s hands. But I will continue to push those bills,” said State Sen. Steven Baldwin, (D) Greenbrier.

The pharmaceutical industry dumped millions of opioid pills into the Mountains State for years.

“Unless a Special Session is called, the first chance lawmakers can divide up this drug settlement money – assuming they get control of it – will be the regular Legislative Session in January,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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