West Virginia awards substance abuse services grants

Nearly $21 million in state funding has been awarded to expand residential treatment services for substance abuse across West Virginia, the state Department of Health and Human Resources announced Monday.

The funding comes from recent court settlements with opioid distributors. Legislation passed earlier this year mandates that DHHR allocate additional treatment beds to be operated by the private sector. They are intended to provide treatment services in existing or newly constructed facilities.

The programs selected by the DHHR’s new Office of Drug Control Policy are Living Free Ohio Valley; Wheeling; Mountaineer Behavioral Health PLLC, Martinsburg; St. Joseph Recovery Center LLC, Parkersburg; Westbrook Health Services Inc., Parkersburg; Valley HealthCare System Inc., Morgantown; West Virginia University Research Corp., Morgantown; Marshall University Physicians and Surgeons Inc., Huntington; WestCare West Virginia Inc.; Culloden, and the Southern West Virginia Treatment thru Recovery Continuum, Beckley.

More than 30,000 West Virginians are already in drug treatment and the state has the nation’s highest drug overdose death rate. The state reported a record 884 overdose deaths last year, up from 735 in 2015.

“As West Virginia fights this battle against addiction, these projects will allow for continued expansion of treatment beds and improved resources across the state,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch said in a statement.

Crouch said it’s anticipated that Medicaid will cover the long-term cost of patient care under the additional treatment beds. He said the state plans to continue exploring more funding sources from the federal government to assist in substance abuse treatment programs.

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