Kelly wants West Virginia Legislature to tackle treatment facility issue | News, Sports, Jobs



PARKERSBURG — One of many causes for a proposed moratorium on the opening of latest residential drug therapy services in Parkersburg is to provide the West Virginia Legislature time to handle the difficulty of their fast proliferation.

Delegate John Kelly, R-Wooden, desires to get to work on it even earlier than the beginning of the following common legislative session in January.

“We’re getting inundated with these restoration facilities,” he mentioned. “It’s a difficulty to this point that we haven’t been capable of management an excessive amount of.”

In the course of the 2021 session, Kelly launched a invoice that might have required drug or alcohol abuse therapy services to be accepted for a certificates of want by the West Virginia Well being Care Authority earlier than they might open. An exemption for such services was granted by the Legislature in 2017 to fight the drug epidemic.

The invoice by no means made it out of committee, however Kelly plans to reintroduce it in 2022.

“I’ve each intention of working that invoice once more,” he mentioned.

Parkersburg Metropolis Council on Tuesday will take into account the primary studying of an ordinance that might prohibit the institution of any group residential services or group residential properties within the metropolis till June 30, 2022. The town had 30 state-licensed substance abuse therapy beds in 2017, however that quantity has jumped to greater than 200 this yr, plus one other 80 beds on the Concord Ridge Restoration Heart within the White Oak Village services at Mountwood Park.

Statistics supplied by town and state earlier this yr point out a few quarter of all licensed restoration beds in West Virginia are in Wooden County.

Metropolis officers have mentioned there’s a hyperlink between the inflow of out-of-town people coming to therapy services in Parkersburg and a rise in homelessness and associated crimes.

Kelly mentioned he’s heard related issues about growing therapy services from individuals in Cabell and Ohio counties as properly. He believes state and municipal governments each have to have “pores and skin within the recreation” to handle the matter.

“I feel (Parkersburg) Mayor (Tom) Joyce has taken a step in the appropriate path” with the proposed moratorium, he mentioned.

Kelly desires to kind a working group with fellow legislators to look at methods to handle the difficulty.

“It’s one thing that we’re going to strive actually arduous to discover a resolution to,” Kelly mentioned. “We want to deliver a few of the metropolis officers in and discuss to them about a few of the points they’re having.”

Home Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, mentioned by way of e-mail that whereas the group gained’t be an official operate of the Legislature presently, “I sit up for persevering with to speak with (Kelly) about his issues.”

Kelly mentioned he’s spoken to different state officers concerning the subject, together with Lawyer Common Patrick Morrissey.

“We’re looking on the challenge and perceive that the Legislature could also be evaluating it subsequent session,” Morrissey mentioned by way of an emailed assertion.

One problem is that beneath federal legal guidelines, such services are exempt from state and native zoning laws as a result of dependancy is assessed as a incapacity.

Evan Bevins will be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.




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