By Roger Adkins, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The board created to oversee the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement money from opioid litigation in West Virginia held its inaugural meeting Monday.
The West Virginia First Foundation is a nonprofit entity approved earlier this year by the state Legislature to handle settlement money from lawsuits filed against drug companies for distributing opioids that fueled an ongoing drug crisis in West Virginia.
The state has received about $400 million, with hundreds of millions more expected to flow in over the coming years. The foundation is charged with helping to find long-term solutions to abate the drug crisis by distributing the funds to support initiatives that address the root causes of the epidemic.
The board met in public view for half a day Monday at the Truist Building in Charleston, mostly handling housekeeping measures that included opening a bank account.
Members Matt Harvey and Dr. Matthew Christiansen were appointed board chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Harvey is the prosecuting attorney in Jefferson County and Christiansen has served as director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy and is the current state health officer.