W.Va. House passes bill to increase capacity in substance abuse treatment centers

Published: Mar. 29, 2017 at 12:08 PM EDT
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The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Wednesday authorizing an increase in the number of beds available at facilities for substance abuse treatment.

House Bill 2428 would allow the Department of Health and Human Resources to build new facilities, or enter into an agreements with a private entities, to increase capacity in substance abuse treatment centers by 600 beds statewide, including 100 new beds in Wood County.

Funding would come from settlements of multiple lawsuits that accused wholesale distributors of flooding the state with prescription pain pills. In one lawsuit, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health agreed in January, 2017 to pay the state a combined $36 million.

West Virginia has approximately 750 substance abuse treatment beds statewide, according to the West Virginia Bureau of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, but the demand for treatment is far greater.

The state has the nation's highest drug overdose death rate.

House Bill 2428 passed on a 99-0 vote. It now moves to the state Senate.