W.Va. House Members Call on AG Morrisey to Put Opioid Settlement Toward Treatment Programs

May 6, 2019

Two members of the West Virginia House of Delegates are urging the state’s attorney general to put money from a recently announced settlement with a pharmaceutical distributor towards substance abuse treatment.

Del. Kayla Kessinger (R-Fayette) and Del. Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha) sent a letter Friday to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey asking for the $37 million settlement with drug distributor McKesson Corporation to be deposited in the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund.

“I hope that the Attorney General will invest this money in substance use prevention and treatment efforts in our state,” Kessinger stated in a Monday news release.  “Communities in every part of the state are struggling to fight the effects of the drug epidemic, and they need the help that this funding can provide."

“The Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund provides vital funding for recovery and treatment facilities across West Virginia,” Robinson stated in the news release.  “The money from this settlement can and should be put to use in our communities- communities that have been devasted by the opioid epidemic that has been fueled by excessive, irresponsible shipments of prescription opioids by drug companies like McKesson Corporation.”

The Ryan Brown fund was created by the Legislature in 2017 as part of a bill to expand substance abuse treatment programs.  

When the settlement with McKesson was announced last week, Morrisey said the two state agencies that were plaintiffs in the lawsuit -- the Department of Health & Human Resources and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety -- intend to use their shares to “further the collective fight against drug abuse in West Virginia.”

A 2018 study from the American Enterprise Institute estimated that the opioid epidemic puts a $8.8 billion burden on the state each year.

A request for comment from the attorney general’s office was not immediately returned.