Virginia Raises $ 11.3 Million to Help Relieve Opioid Crisis, Hundreds of Millions to Follow | WJHL

(WJHL) – Resolving the Virginia opioid crisis raised $ 11.3 million to fund prevention, treatment and recovery.

A newly established agency is working to ensure these dollars help mitigate the widespread effects of the opioid epidemic, particularly in hard-hit southwest Virginia.

“No money will ever make up for the loss of a loved one, the devastation so many families have seen in recent years due to the crisis,” said Attorney General Mark Herring.

Herring says one of his top priorities in office has been to bring justice to those who helped fuel the opioid crisis. The sum of money was secured by Herring through a multi-state settlement with McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm sued for its role in “turbocharging” the opioid crisis

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“A big part of it was blaming these companies for the damage they did in creating and prolonging this epidemic. But the work must continue, ”said Herring.

Earlier this year, Herring helped found what is known as the Opioid Abatement Authority – a group of frontline experts on the opioid crisis who will receive the funds backed up by ongoing opioid litigation and ensure they are used to tackle the opioid crisis in the Commonwealth .

“One of the things we’ve worked hard on is to make sure there are incentives to channel additional funds into underserved areas, these could be rural areas, particularly in Southwest Virginia, which are battling the opioid crisis for much longer than the rest of the world the state, ”said Herring.

Now that the agency has raised its first funds, it is time to get to work.

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State Senator Todd Pillion, who represents much of Southwest Virginia, was elected chairman of the agency.

“There is no family in Southwest Virginia that has not been affected by the opioid epidemic. Hopefully this money will be a way to heal some of those wounds that families have suffered and, most importantly, to keep the wounds from recurring in the future, ”Pillion said.

Pillion, a native of Lee County, says, as chairman, he is pleased that this money is doing good.

“I definitely think we could benefit from some new treatment facilities in Southwest Virginia, we could strengthen some of the existing ones, and hopefully get better access to care across the Commonwealth,” said Pillion.

That initial $ 11.3 million in settlement funds is just the tip of the iceberg. Other ongoing proceedings are likely to bring in much more money.

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“I assume that this work will continue. I expect that with other successful solutions to other cases that we bring, Virginia will ultimately raise hundreds of millions of dollars over a period of years, “Herring said.

The current prevention funds are divided as follows:
· 70% for opioid control in equal parts (35% each) on 1) regional projects and 2) other projects identified as effective by the Expert Council
· 15% reserved for government-determined reduction initiatives
· 15% reserved for on-site mitigation initiatives

Herring has also filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma; the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma; and Teva / Cephalon for the role they played in creating the opioid epidemic. Further cross-state investigations and legal action are still ongoing.

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In the November election, Republican Jason Miyares won the race for Attorney General of Virginia and denied Herring a third term. Herring served as attorney general for eight years.

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