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Justice announces creation of Council on Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment

December 4, 2018

Brian Gallagher

HUNTINGTON — Gov. Jim Justice on Monday announced the creation of the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment, which will advise and direct the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy created by the state Legislature in 2017. Justice made the announcement at PROACT in Huntington.

The council will be chaired by Brian Gallagher, chief government affairs officer at Marshall Health. Bob Hansen, director of addiction services at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, will be the new director of the Office of Drug Control Policy.

The council will be comprised of experts in addiction and recovery. A full list of council members is expected from the governor’s office later in the week.

Gallagher said the council will advise and direct the ODCP, with Hansen serving more as chief of staff to the council.

“Some of the things we are going to do to replicate (Huntington’s success) is the hub and spoke model,” Gallagher said. “We will take ideas from Marshall, WVU, the School of Osteopathic Medicine and use them around the state with telemedicine or have people go out and do rotations around the state. We will bring our expertise to these rural areas that really need it. Bob and I will be working very closely together.”

Justice said the state needs to fix the problem of addiction and overdose deaths, and if this step doesn’t work, they will try the next step until a solution is found.

PROACT, or Provider Response Organization for Addiction Care and Treatment, was created to address the clinical, behavioral, spiritual and professional issues of those affected by substance use. It functions as the centralized hub for treatment, recovery, therapy, education, research, workforce opportunities and support for those affected by addiction.

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