Charleston, W.Va. - The House of Delegates passed House Bill 2428, establishing additional substance abuse treatment facilities.
Delegate Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha, made it his top priority to help pass this piece of legislation after losing his lifelong friend to addiction.
Robinson first introduced his own version of the bill, House Bill 2422, but worked with the majority and others to ultimately pass a different version.
“We had a similar upbringing, so (Ryan Brown) was a good example that this affects us all,” Robinson said speaking to the passage of the bill. “His name was selected because his mother has become a staunch advocate for treatment, recovery and teaching about addiction.”
The bill, if passed by the Senate, will create the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund. The bill transfers millions of dollars recovered from the state from a settlement won in January by the state Attorney General in a civil action case then pending in Boone County. Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen agreed to settle claims in the state’s pain pill lawsuit for a total of $36 million. The lawsuit was first filed in 2012.
Robinson reminds everyone that HB 2428 is part of the beginning of the process in fixing the drug epidemic in the state, not the end. While everyone is encouraged on this issue, the state is still spending pennies on the dollar incarcerating drug users and dealers compared to the money being spent simply trying to get help to those addicted.
“We can’t wash our hands and congratulate ourselves just yet,” Robinson said. “We’re throwing some money at the problem, but that can’t be it.”