Emily Rice Published

Morrisey Provides Updates On Opioid Settlement Monies

Glasses and a blue pen are seen on top of several twenty dollar bills.iStockphoto.com

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey clarified the process of distributing opioid settlement funds during a press conference on Monday.

Morrisey informed elected officials and the public about the next steps following the creation of the foundation, as well as information about the settlement funds.

He announced the state has chosen DRi Waterstone to assist in the search for an executive director of the West Virginia First Foundation which is responsible for the distribution of funds.

As the central organization dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis throughout the state, the foundation will receive 72.5 percent of each settlement or judgment, 24.5 percent of settlement and judgment dollars will be allocated to local governments and 3 percent will be held in escrow by the state.

Morrisey said they hope to identify a candidate in the next 30 to 60 days.

“The process is underway, I wanted to update folks, it is a very important one,” Morrisey said. “There’s a lot of money. And I want to make sure that the public knows full well what’s happening with it.”

Morrisey outlined the next steps in the distribution of opioid settlements to the state’s counties and cities. The process will start with the president of the county commission of the most populous county in each region, convening a meeting of all local governments in the region to elect a director.

The regions and meetings scheduled are as follows:

  • Region 1: Ohio County
  • Region 2: Berkeley County (meeting set for July 12, 1 p.m.)
  • Region 3: Wood County
  • Region 4: Monongalia County (meeting set for July 13 at the Monongalia County Center, 10 a.m.)
  • Region 5: Kanawha County (meeting set for July 12)
  • Region 6: Raleigh County (meeting set for July 5 at the Raleigh County Courthouse, 1 p.m.)

All opioid funds must be used in a manner consistent with the MOU’s definition of an “Approved Purpose,” which includes employing evidence-based treatment strategies for substance use disorders or addiction, substance use prevention strategies, law enforcement efforts to curtail drug distribution, supporting addiction recovery programs, or decreasing the oversupply of licit and illicit opioids.

“We will continue to fight for the families affected by this epidemic, and we will serve as the voices of the sons and daughters they have lost,” Morrisey said. “We must prevent another generation from falling prey to senseless death and the West Virginia First Foundation will be a major step forward on the path to recovery.”

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.