CHARLESTON – With the passage of Senate Bill 1010, the state of West Virginia has taken great strides, not only in settling an almost 30-year old court case, but in better addressing substance abuse issues in the state, House Health and Human Resources Chairman Don Perdue said today.
The slightly more than $14 million in the bill is one-time money that comes from manufacturers of the prescription drug Zyprexa.
“While most of the money will go for ‘bricks and mortar’ projects that the Department of Health and Human Resources has determined are critical for behavioral health clients, I have received commitments from DHHR officials that funds will be made available to complete renovations of a building in Huntington for the Healing Places recovery program and allow it to open its doors.” Chairman Perdue, D-Wayne, said. “That is wonderful news for a much-needed residential recovery center.”
The money also will provide a van and the expansion of services at the Braxton County Fellowship Home, and fund the construction of a substance abuse treatment facility to be located in McDowell County. Another $200,000 will be set aside for additional substance abuse treatment services in the state.
The total cost of all those projects will amount to approximately $1.7 million.
“I would also note that many of the various other behavioral health facilities that will be constructed with the Zyprexa money may also impact in a broader context other substance abuse issues that are so prevalent in the state,” Chairman Perdue said. “There is still a long way to go in ensuring our state provides sufficient substance abuse treatment and prevention, but this is a vitally important step, and I applaud with great enthusiasm the exemplary vision of Governor Manchin and his Team at DHHR in taking it.”
The legislation, which passed the House Tuesday, was one of several bills being considered during this special session. The bill creates a special revenue account called the “Behavioral Mental Health Services Fund” for $14.75 from the class action settlement received in litigation involving Zyprexa. The new fund must be spent in accordance with the settlement agreement, which states that the settlement funds “shall be used solely for funding behavioral mental health services.” The legislation can be viewed at www.legis.state.wv.us, where it is listed under “1st Extraordinary Session.”