BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – “Here we are, Raleigh County, leading the nation in drug overdose deaths, and some entities want to cut off our programs that are trying to help those people.”
It’s a crucial time in West Virginia when it comes to the ongoing battle with the opioid epidemic.
Recently, Raleigh County was recognized as the leading county with the highest drug overdose rates per capita nationwide. In addition, some of the state’s programs will allegedly no longer refer inmates or rehab patients to faith-based recovery centers.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey met with Senator Rollan Roberts Monday at Tamarack for an announcement regarding their concern on the matter.
“A lot of times they want to leave faith-based organizations behind, I’m against that, so I stand to make sure that whatever rules folks are coming up with, people have to recognize the potency,” Morrisey says. “I’ve been to Brian’s Safehouse, I’ve been to places around this area and I know the importance of having strong recovery systems in place.”
Morrisey appointed Senator Roberts to serve as Raleigh County’s official opioid liaison.
Having dealt with faith-based issues in the past, Roberts will work with the legislature to identify any problems that may hinder faith organization’s role in helping to tackle the opioid epidemic.
This comes after West Virginia’s $99 million settlement with the major drug company Jannsen and their role in helping to cause the state’s opioid crisis.
Roberts hopes to use some of the settlement money to pull Raleigh County out of the crisis of their own.
“We’ve been talking about it for years, we’ve thrown lots of money at it, but for some reason, we just haven’t gotten there yet and we’re losing ground,” Roberts says. “We’ve got to get these people before they end their lives.”
The state has also sued two other drug companies, Teva and Allergan for their alleged role in the epidemic as well. Their trials with the state now continue.