Associated Press Published

State to Establish Drug Control Policy Office


West Virginia is establishing a new Office of Drug Control Policy to coordinate statewide funding, reporting and data about drug use, overdoses, addiction treatment, needs and statewide policy.

The law approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jim Justice requires health care providers, pharmacies, medical examiners, police, prosecutors and emergency responders to report suspected or actual overdoses, medical treatments, use of overdose antidotes and drug poisoning deaths.

State data show 844 people died from drug overdoses last year in West Virginia.

Another new law authorizes spending $24 million from recent court settlements with opioid distributors to increase inpatient treatment beds, authorizing health officials to ensure they are available in the highest priority areas.

A third new measure clarifies requirements for using the state’s database for monitoring painkiller prescriptions, including overdose reports.