House Passes Bill to Help Addicts in Jail

Mar 1, 2016

Del. Chris Stansbury, R-Kanawha County.
Credit Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The House of Delegates approved a bill that expands addiction treatment available in regional jails.

House Bill 4176 would create a program for inmates in regional jails suffering from an addiction to opioids, allowing them to receive medical treatment with the drug Vivitrol coupled with counseling.

Vivitrol is an injection that blocks the effects of drugs like heroin or prescription painkillers for 30 days and also helps fight the cravings for those drugs.

Delegate Chris Stansbury is a Republican from Kanawha County. Last year, he championed a similar bill that allowed the same kind of treatment in state drug courts. He says by expanding this pilot program, more people can get help to fight an addiction.

“It really behooves us to help those people now, while they’re incarcerated, give them an opportunity to get clean and stay clean on the outside and become productive members of society again,” Stansbury said.

The bill passed 97 to 1. The one no vote came from Delegate Mike Pushkin, a Democrat from Kanawha County, who felt treating addiction with another medication was not the answer.