January 12, 2017

Manchin, West Virginia Treatment Facilities Call On State To Use Settlement Money for Substance Abuse Treatment

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Recovery Point West Virginia, Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association, the West Virginia Primary Care Association, and Kanawha Communities That Care are calling on the state of West Virginia to use the $36 million settled in the case between Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen v. West Virginia to be put towards substance abuse treatment.

“Although Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen denied any wrongdoing or admission of guilt as part of the settlement, it is clear that their irresponsible shipment of pills to West Virginia definitely had a hand in the opioid epidemic that we are facing now,” Senator Manchin said. “The State of West Virginia should make sure that this money is spent as intended and used to fund substance abuse treatment and recovery programs, to help the West Virginians that have been hurt but these companies’ reckless opioid distribution and sales.”

“Through the recent drug settlement announcement, West Virginia has an opportunity to stem the tide of substance use that has ravaged our state by supporting evidence-based prevention programs, expanding treatment, caring for drug-exposed babies, and assisting those in recovery. While 36 Million Dollars will not solve the issues of our state, or bring back the ones who died from drug overdoses, it can continue to move the pendulum and provide hope across the state. Our elected officials have been placed with a great opportunity to send a powerful message to the families of those who have died from drug overdoses by ensuring prudent use of the settlement money and investing in the lives of our beloved citizens,” J. Matt Boggs,  Executive Director of Recovery Point West Virginia.

“In working with children and families we have seen tremendous harm done. Families have been basically disarmed in their fight against addiction.  We support Senator Manchin and would hope to see the funds from the settlement used to help put families back together and to provide the support they need to strengthen and preserve their families,” said Mike Price, Chief Executive Officer, Burlington United Methodist Family Services.   

“The Children’s Home Society supports Senator Manchin’s appeal to use the settlement funds for the continued support and care to children and families affected by the opioid epidemic.  To help put it into context; we see the faces of the children left behind, the faces that express hopelessness and despair, the faces of those children who end up in the foster care system for no fault of their own, these children do not know what tomorrow holds for them.  The settlement funds utilized for this effort would positively impact the lives of so many of West Virginia’s children,” said Mary White, Chief Operations Officer, Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. 

“Behavioral health treatment providers across WV have been frustrated with the lack of funding for long term addictions treatment.  In the last three years, our members have seen a 3 fold increase in the number of persons seeking treatment for opiate addiction.  Current funding only allows a few to receive treatment longer than 90 days.  Let’s get our citizens healthy once again.  We support Senator Manchin’s recommendation earmarking these settlement dollars for the very issues that caused our opiate addiction in the beginning,” said Mark Drennan, Executive Director of West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association.

“The recent settlement with Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen provides West Virginia with an opportunity to utilize resources to address the opioid epidemic that was partially fueled by the tremendous influx of prescriptions from these companies.  As good stewards of these resources, I hope that West Virginia will channel all of the $36 million into an array of services including abstinence based, recovery coaching, peer counseling, group therapy as well as medication-assisted treatment,” said Louise Reese, Chief Executive Officer of the West Virginia Primary Care Association.

“The state has a real opportunity to put that money towards enhancing the substance abuse prevention efforts across the state, as well as, helping those that have been suffering from substance abuse and those effected by the influx of pills in West Virginia. We must use all of the tools at our disposable to get help to those who need it most,” said Kristi Justice, Executive Director of Kanawha Communities That Care. 

Cardinal Health, the largest supplier of drugs in West Virginia, will pay the state $20 million. AmerisourceBergen, the third-largest drug distributor in the state, agreed to pay $16 million. In addition to the settlement payments, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen agreed to promptly alert state authorities when they see suspicious drug orders from pharmacies.