By ERIC EYRE
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nine drug treatment programs in West Virginia will receive a combined $20.8 million in funding — money state lawmakers set aside earlier this year from lawsuit settlements with drug companies accused of fueling the state’s opioid epidemic.
The legislation requires that the money be spent on additional treatment beds.
“As West Virginia fights this battle against addiction, these projects will allow for continued expansion of treatment beds and improved resources across the state,” said Bill Crouch, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Living Free Ohio Valley, in Wheeling, which will receive $3 million to provide a recovery program for low-income women.
Mountaineer Behavioral Health, in Martinsburg; $3 million to provide residential addiction treatment and long-term outpatient care.
St. Joseph Recovery Center, in Parkersburg; $3 million to offer services in six counties — Boone, Jackson, McDowell, Mingo, Roane and Wyoming — hit hard by substance use.
Westbrook Health Services, in Parkersburg; $1 million for long-term treatment.
Valley HealthCare System, in Morgantown; $3 million to expand its number of short-term treatment beds and create long-term beds.
West Virginia University Research Corp., in Morgantown; $1 million to open a residential treatment facility as part of the Chestnut Ridge Center and WVU Medicine.
Marshall University Physicians and Surgeons, in Huntington; $2.8 million to provide residential treatment services for pregnant and post-partum women through the Marshall Recovery Center for Families.
WestCare West Virginia, in Culloden; $1 million to establish a new substance use disorder treatment facility.
Southern West Virginia Treatment Through Recovery Continuum, which includes FMRS Health Systems, Seneca Health Services and the Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center, all in Beckley; $3 million to add treatment beds and bolster occupancy rates of available beds in the region.
Crouch said the state plans to use Medicaid funds to sustain the facilities that are adding treatment beds.
“As this fight is far from over, West Virginia plans to continue to explore additional funding sources from the federal government to complement these projects,” he said.
The DHHR received 23 applications for the grant funds.
In April, the Legislature passed a plan to take $24 million from recent lawsuit settlements with drug distributors and use the money to expand drug treatment facilities across the state. The measure (House Bill 2428) directed the DHHR to make extra treatment beds available by July 2018.
The settlement money from drug wholesalers Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen was placed in a special account called the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention Recovery Fund — named after a Charleston man who died of a heroin overdose three years ago.
West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation, and fatal overdoses reached a record number last year.
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