Brian A. Gallagher and Robert H. Hansen

Justice announces formation of Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice was in Huntington on Tuesday to announce the formation of the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment.

“The drug problem affects every single one of us in some way, it’s at everybody’s doorstep,” Gov. Justice said. “I’m going to fix this drug problem, we’re going to fix it. I’m committed to doing this, whatever it takes. Our goal needs to be to eliminate the deaths, every one of them.

“Today is the next step with the formation of this council. And we’re going to keep taking the next step, and the next step, and the next step until it is fixed.”

Justice also announced that Brian Gallagher, chief of Government Affairs and Health Care Policy for the Marshall University Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy and Marshall Health Systems, will serve as chairman of the council and that Robert Hansen, who has been director of Addiction Services for the Marshall University School of Medicine and Marshall Health Systems, has been named as the new executive director of the state Office of Drug Control Policy.

Justice praised Marshall University and the City of Huntington for being on the cutting edge of addressing the many facets of the opioid epidemic and also stressed that the improving state economy will greatly assist in the work to battle the scourge of substance abuse.

“Without a job and without the revenue we couldn’t even think about doing this,” Gov. Justice said. “The economic revival that’s going on in West Virginia is huge and it’s helping to make more dollars available to combat this problem.”

The event was held at PROACT (Providers Response Organization for Addiction Care and Treatment), a new facility in downtown Huntington that has been created for addressing the broad spectrum of issues associated with substance abuse.

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