WV lawmakers pass bills to take on state opioid crisis

West Virginia state lawmakers have passed a series of measures the past two legislative sessions to tackle the state’s opioid crisis from four different angles: Law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and education.

West Virginia state lawmakers have passed a series of measures the past two legislative sessions to tackle the state’s opioid crisis from four different angles: Law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and education. On the law enforcement front, the House of Delegates this year passed HB-220, increasing state penalties for conviction of illegal drug distribution and sale. On the treatment side, West Virginia has adopted a law–B-401 — which requires private insurance companies to cover 6 months in-patient substance abuse treatment. The state Legislature also year passed a bill to increase the supply of the anti- overdose drug naloxone allotted to counties around state. "Naloxone must now be carried by health care providers, pharmacists and pharmacist interns and school nurses to carry and use the products," says Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson.) The bill also requires local agents who administer naloxone to encourage opioid overdose victims to seek drug treatment. To address drug education, the House of Delegates passed HB 2195 2 years ago that requires all public schools K-12 to implement a comprehensive drug awareness and prevention program by the 2019-20 school year.