Drug treatment program begins

Rupert “Rupie” Phillips Jr.

Legislation originating in the House of Delegates to create a new addiction treatment pilot program in W.Va. goes into effect June 16.

“The Addiction Treatment Pilot Program gives the Department of Health and Human Resources, Adult Drug Courts and Division of Corrections the ability to give people a second chance at being drug-free using a medication that is working well in similar populations around the country,” stated Del. Chris Stansbury (R-Kanawha), who introduced the legislation.

“I am really pleased with the collaborative efforts by these state agencies in implementing this new program that I hope will fulfill our shared goal of second chances, and saved lives,” added Stansbury.

Specifically, the law establishes the creation of up to five new pilot programs to include the West Virginia Supreme Court and the Division of Corrections to provide addiction treatment to specified offenders. The treatment provides for medication assisted treatment using a drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration, Vivitrol that is long-lasting and used in conjunction with psychosocial support.

Del. Matt Rohrbach (R-Cabell) who also sponsored the original bill, said, “In combating this public health epidemic, we must diversify treatment options and this program is simply another tool in the tool box for reducing addiction. I am encouraged that West Virginia will have success, similar to what has been seen in other states with this treatment program.”

Both Del. Stansbury (R-Kanawha) and Del. Rohrbach (R-Cabell) serve on the House Committee for Health and Human Services and have spent their careers as physicians serving the local area.

Rohrbach concluded, “This will help tremendously in achieving the ultimate goal of returning addicts to productive healthy, lives.”

The other sponsors of the legislation include Del. Eric L. Householder (R-Berkeley), Del. Rupert Phillips Jr. (D-Logan), Del. Lynne Arvon (R-Raleigh), Del. Gary G. Howell (R-Mineral), Del. Michel Moffatt (R-Putnam), Del. John Shott (R-Mercer), Del. Joe Ellington (R-Mercer), Del. Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha) and Del. Denise L. Campbell (D-Randolph).

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