W.Va. AG | New foundation to distribute opioid settlement monies

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 12:46 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A new private, nonprofit foundation will be created to distribute settlement funds awarded in various suits against opioid markers, distributors and other parties in the pharmaceutical supply chain, West Virginia Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, announced Wednesday.

Funds will be distributed through the Opioid Foundation Board, consisting of five members appointed by the Governor, and one member from each of the six designated opioid regions, Morrisey says.

The agreement is required by the West Virginia Mass Litigation Panel to become eligible for any opioid settlement monies obtained pursuant to court orders.

As the central organization dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis throughout the state, the foundation will receive 72.5 percent of the 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.

“The communities of our state have been ravaged by the wrongdoing of those within the pharmaceutical supply chain,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “With the memorandum of understanding, West Virginia has dramatically improved its ability to speak with a united voice and take actions to protect all the citizens of our state from this epidemic.”

“This agreement is also a huge win for every county and city in West Virginia. We will be able to meaningfully address the regional jail free problem and help government entities that are already heavily investing in addressing the drug problem,” Attorney General Morrisey continued.

The foundation will be managed by a board of 11 members, five of whom will be state appointees, subject to confirmation by the Senate. To represent the interests of local governments, the MOU establishes six regions, and one member will be chosen from each of those regions.

Attorney General Morrisey says he will appoint an executive director of the foundation board with experience in healthcare, finance and management. The executive director will run day-to-day operations of the foundation and will only vote on matters before the board in the event of a tie.

According to AG Morrisey, this distribution will allow the money to help people and fund projects most in need.

Morrisey says potential uses for settlement money include:

  • Funding to develop and promote substance abuse avoidance, research, innovation and education programs
  • Funding for law enforcement to curtail the sale, distribution, promotion or use of opioids and other illegal drugs
  • Funding to support recovery efforts, such as treatment performed by qualified providers and drug counselors

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