CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginians in recovery from drug addiction will be eligible for a new scholarship fund.

Lynne Fruth, president of Fruth Pharmacy, said during a news conference earlier this month at Recovery Point in Charleston that Fruth Pharmacy and several other companies each donated $20,000 to the Bridge of Hope fund, currently at $100,000. The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation will administer the fund.

Others may donate as well.

"Not everybody feels comfortable supporting other programs," Fruth said, in an interview, "but I can't think of anybody or any church who wouldn't say 'Yes, I want to help somebody who's done the work to get healthy and is now looking to get back into society, back as a wage earner and contributor,' so I really see it as a fund everybody is going to embrace."

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams joined Fruth at the news conference.

Manchin referred to President Donald Trump's October declaration of the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency, which came with no additional funding. "We finally got total recognition over the Congress. They all know they have a problem in their district, in their state. With that being said you're seeing people speak out," Manchin said.

He alluded to that lack of money when comparing fighting the drug crisis to a war.

"We're on the front lines and we're fighting it together," he said. "Democrat or Republican, basically West Virginians are on the front line.

"I tell them we're running out of bullets."

Capito thanked Fruth and others involved for their work, and educating her on the drug crisis. At one point, she also thanked public health professionals in the room for educating her on needle exchange programs, which are still scarce in rural areas of the state.

"The great health professionals here in the room told me why this is important because it brings you in the health system," she said.

"Plus it eliminates the spread of other very extensive and very devastating disease," she added.

Additional donors included Walgreens, Cabell-Huntington Hospital and an unnamed donor.

"They're going to make their own press release," Fruth said.

Cardinal Health also donated $20,000. In January, the company agreed to pay the state of West Virginia $20 million to settle a 2012 lawsuit that alleged the company shipped an excessive number of prescription pain pills to West Virginia.

Fruth said prospective students from the area who are in "sustained recovery" are eligible. A committee of people from health departments and the recovery community will select the recipients, she said.

She said information for students would be available on The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation's website, at, by late January or early February.

Donors can also visit the website of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and click "Donate Now." To designate money for the scholarship program, they should choose "other" under "Donation Information" and type in "Bridge of Hope Fund."

They can also donate by calling 304-346-3620 or mailing the donation to Bridge of Hope Fund, c/o The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, PO Box 3041, Charleston, WV, 25331.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,