- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced his office is allocating $1.3 million to bolster residential drug treatment facilities for women, increase detox beds for young people and adults and help law enforcement agencies stop drug diversion.

Funding will come from recent lawsuit settlements with wholesale distributors that ship prescription drugs from manufacturers to pharmacies, he said.

“Our work to bring more resources to fight substance abuse has not lessened,” Tomblin told members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse. “We will continue bringing in everything we can to fight against this epidemic.”

The announcement came as Tomblin spoke to his substance abuse task force for the final time Friday, according to media reports. The task force started its work in 2011, and the outgoing governor spotlighted advances in the fight against substance abuse.

Tomblin highlighted programs such as a crackdown on rogue pain clinics, the expanded use of a medication that reverses drug overdoses and the launch of a toll-free hotline for West Virginians struggling with addiction.

The council has coordinated numerous community meetings across the state and pushed for policy changes.

“The recommendations coming from the council have directly resulted in life-changing reforms,” Tomblin said.

Tomblin said he hopes the advisory council, which was established by the governor’s executive order, won’t be disbanded after he leaves office. Gov.-elect Jim Justice has said he would make the state’s drug abuse problem a priority.

“I would hope this group would stay together,” Tomblin said. “We will win this battle against substance abuse.”

Tomblin also said the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has submitted a substance abuse disorder demonstration waiver for approval to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If approved, this waiver would improve quality of care and outcomes for Medicaid enrollees with substance abuse disorder issues, he said.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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