CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia cannot bar people in addiction recovery programs from adopting children, according to an agreement announced Wednesday between federal civil rights officials and the state health department.
The agreement makes clear that people recovering from addiction are covered under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and cannot face discrimination for participating in opioid treatment programs.
The federal Office of Civil Rights said it found “systemic deficiencies” in the West Virginia’s disability rights policies following an investigation into a claim that health officials wouldn’t allow a man to adopt his niece and nephew because he was in an addiction recovery program.
“People in recovery from opioid use disorder should never be stigmatized for seeking appropriate medical treatment that can save their lives,” said Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino.
The state admits no wrongdoing under the agreement and has agreed to update its nondiscrimination policies. The Office of Civil Rights will monitor the state’s compliance with the agreement.