CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The application deadline is Oct. 4 for a share of nearly $22 million in grant funding available to private companies through the state Department of Health and Human Resources for development of additional long-term drug addiction treatment facilities in West Virginia.

The Ryan Brown Fund Substance Use Disorder Residential Treatment Expansion is funded with a portion of settlement money from lawsuits filed against drug distributors.

Those lawsuits alleged the companies failed to detect and report shipments of suspicious prescription drug orders into the Mountain State, as required, which helped fuel the opioid epidemic.

With the settlements, the drug distributors have denied allegations of liability.

Bill Crouch, DHHR secretary

“We need long-term treatment beds to fix this problem,” said Bill Crouch, DHHR secretary, during an appearance on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “We do not have enough.”

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed legislation mandating that the DHHR ensure beds for substance abuse treatment are available in the “highest priority” areas in West Virginia.

That legislation also created the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund made up of funding from a variety of sources to meet the law’s requirements.

It’s named for Ryan Brown who died of a heroin overdose in a Macy’s bathroom at the Charleston Town Center Mall in April 2014. Before his death, Brown went through three rounds of detox¬†and was on the waiting list for two long-term treatment programs.

“They (members of the Legislature) did a terrific job in focusing on an area of treatment that we are short of,” Crouch said of the law.

“We’re looking at where these beds are needed. We’ve divided the state up into regions and we’re going to make sure that we get beds in every region of the state and every locale we can.”

As proposed, each one-time award for this round of settlement funding cannot exceed $3 million per award.

Applicants must meet the following criteria for consideration:

– have direct substance use disorder service experience;
– have preference for West Virginia residents;
– have long-term treatment based upon need of up to one year and beyond as necessary;
– have the ability to work with Adult Drug Court Program and coordinate with other providers;
– have or be eligible to obtain a behavioral health license in West Virginia;
– have or be eligible to obtain an office-based, medication-assisted treatment registration in West Virginia, if applicable;
– be able to meet requirements for enrollment as a West Virginia Medicaid provider and accept payments from patients covered by Medicaid, private pay or 3rd party payers.

Priority populations for the additional beds created will include individuals who’ve experienced an overdose in the past 30 days, pregnant women, IV drug users and custodial parents of minor children.

“This is a partnership with the private sector,” Crouch said. “The state of West Virginia is not going to provide these services directly. We are really providing grants to the private sector to develop these beds.”

He could offer no projections for when the new beds could go into service but, overall, Crouch said the hope was that an expansion of substance use disorder treatment services would lead to decreases in overdose deaths as well as declines in other costs to West Virginia.

“The long-term treatment really keeps them away from that lifestyle for a longer period of time and teaches them to look for triggers and look for ways to know when they’re about to relapse and to stay with the program,” he said.

Grant funding decisions will be made on or before Oct. 20, according to the DHHR.

A technical assistance meeting for prospective applicants is scheduled for Sept. 5.

More information on the funding application project is available HERE.

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