CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has reiterated his request that $10 million returned by his office to the state’s General Fund be used to fund drug abuse treatment and reduce the backlog of drug tests at the West Virginia State Police crime lab.
“From my perspective, there is no greater threat to the citizens of the State of West Virginia than substance abuse,” Morrisey said in a May 16 statement. “That’s why we have made fighting this epidemic our top consumer protection priority.”
The $10 million, including $8.5 million subject to a pending supplemental bill, will be transferred from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Fund.
Morrisey said he knows his office is not the arbiter of how these funds are spent, but he said he is hopeful the Legislature will use these newfound monies to address the state’s growing number of drug-related deaths.
“Some of these monies simply need to be used to fight substance abuse and to reduce the backlog of any tests at the state crime lab,” Morrisey said.
Morrisey said he believes this demonstrate his office’s continued commitment to help West Virginia fight its battle against substance abuse in the Mountain State.
Each dollar returned to the state coffers also represents one less dollar Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state legislators must take from the Rainy Day Fund to balance the state’s struggling budget, according to the AG's office.
The return of $10 million was initially announced earlier this month. It ensures that West Virginia realizes the benefit of settlements obtained by this office and the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources and Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
This, combined with another $5 million given back earlier this year, marks the fifth time Morrisey’s office has voluntarily returned significant money to the state’s general fund – a cumulative tally of $33.5 million.
Morrisey returned $5 million in March, $2 million in 2015, $9 million in 2014 and $7.5 million in 2013.