CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House of Delegates today voted unanimously to enable the creation of additional substance abuse treatment facilities to provide more treatment options for those suffering with addiction.
House Bill 2428 would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources to ensure that by July 1, 2018, there are additional beds provided for substance abuse at either state Bureau for Behavioral Health or Health Facilities locations or at privately owned facilities throughout the state.
The facilities are required to give preference to West Virginia residents, accept Medicaid patients, offer long-term treatment of up to one year, and work closely with local Adult Drug Court programs.
The facilities will be funded through a special revenue account, named the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund, in memory of a victim of substance abuse whose mother has advocated for additional treatment facilities. This fund will use proceeds from a recent prescription drug settlement negotiated by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and other revenue appropriated by the Legislature.
“This session we have addressed our substance abuse problem with a three-pronged approach: education, treatment and criminal prosecution,” said House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha. “Earlier Wednesday we passed a bill requiring comprehensive drug awareness programs in our schools, and have already passed significant legislation to give our law enforcement and prosecutors better tools to prosecute drug traffickers.
“This bill is the next piece of the puzzle,” Speaker Armstead said. “This will give us the additional facilities and beds we need to provide hope and treatment opportunities to our fellow West Virginians who are desperately seeking help to combat their addictions.”
Earlier Wednesday, the House passed House Bill 2195, which would ensure that by no later than the start of the 2018-2019 school year county school boards will implement comprehensive drug awareness and prevention programs for students in grades K through 12 to receive instruction regarding the dangers of substance abuse.
More information about the measures designed to target drug traffickers and other criminal activity can be found here.