West Virginia

Allocation of Funds

West Virginia is pursuing an independent legal strategy for opioid-related litigation and is not involved in the national opioid settlement. (That means they are not beholden to the exact same guardrails as the national settlement, but their agreements still require settlement funds to be used to remediate the harms caused by the opioid crisis.) Funds are split 3 ways (see MOU):

3% – State dollars – For expenses incurred related to opioid litigation & for re-investment.

24.5% – Local dollars Allocated to Local Governments (see Exhibit C of the MOU).

72.5% – Regional/Foundation dollars Managed and allocated by the West Virginia First Foundation (named The Opioid Foundation in the MOU, but has since been renamed), a private 501(c)3 with a governing board and panel of experts.

    • Funds must be spent on items listed in Exhibit A and B (see pages 11-25 of the MOU). Note: This list is nearly identical to Exhibit E of the national settlement agreement, but WV stripped all mention of syringes and added in options to fund law enforcement and pay for outstanding regional jail fees.
    • 20% will be divided among the regions and the rest shall be disbursed “based on an evidence-based evaluation of need after consultation with the Expert Panel.”

In March, 2023, Governor Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 674 recognizing the creation of the West Virginia First Foundation, a private foundation which will manage the state’s settlement funds.

The state is divided into 6 Regions (see Exhibit B, page 27 of the MOU), and each Region shall create their own governance structure and shall send a representative to serve on the West Virginia First Foundation Board of directors. In July 2023, all 6 regions chose their representative:

  • Region 1 (Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, and Wetzel) – Licensed physician and psychologist and Medical Director for Northwood Health Systems, Dr. Steven Corder, is most interested in reducing barriers to treatment.
  • Region 2 (Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton) – Director of Berkeley County Community Corrections and Berkeley Day Report Center Timothy Czaja noted his experience with addiction years ago as well as professional experience providing services for those with addiction, including inpatient and outpatient programs, quick response teams, naloxone distribution, harm reduction programs, juvenile treatment programs, prevention programs and more.
  • Region 3 (Wood, Tyler, Pleasants, Ritchie, Wirt, Roane, and Jackson) – Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce is most interested in putting resources into addiction prevention. “The key to this is raising a generation of young people that doesn’t have to face this… it’s going to make for a better workforce, better, safer communities, cleaner communities, more vibrant communities.” He also asserts he is not opposed to treatment.
  • Region 4 (Monongalia, Braxton, Lewis, Harrison, Marion, Preston, Taylor, Tucker, Barbour, Randolph, Gilmer, Doddridge, and Upshur) – Vice President of External Affairs from Mon Health, Jonathan Board, said that he is “fully in favor of abiding by a completely transparent model” and emphasized that “indeed, this is the people’s money.”
  • Region 5 (Kanawha, Cabell, Clay, Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, Mason, Mingo and Wayne) – State Health Officer and former Director of DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy, Dr. Matthew Christiansen said he’d like to see resources go to building out the state’s care continuum, especially to prevention and screening efforts, an area that’s been “traditionally underfunded,” to try to reach people before they fall into “that vicious cycle of addiction where it becomes too late.” He also noted he wants to ensure these dollars are managed and allocated “in the most accurate way possible in the most transparent way possible.”
  • Region 6 (Fayette, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, Nicholas, Webster, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Mercer, Wyoming, and McDowell) – Emergency Physician Dr. Tony Kelly said he would like the board to pursue solutions that are rooted in science, like needle exchange programs which help prevent the transition of bloodborne illnesses like Hep C and HIV. “It’s not my view, it’s science… at least we have to give them clean needles until we can work with them and give them exposure to treatment and counseling …”

On November 6, 2023, the West Virginia First Foundation held their first meeting and elected the following leadership positions:

  • Chair: Matt Harvey, Jefferson County prosecuting attorney
  • Vice chair: Dr. Matt Christiansen, state health officer and commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health
  • Treasurer: Jeff Sandy, former cabinet secretary for the state Department of Homeland Security
  • Secretary: Dora Stutler, Harrison County Schools superintendent

We are still awaiting appointment of an executive director to the Foundation, and for information about future meetings. In December, 2023, the Foundation launched their website: WVFirst.org

Show Me The Money

Johnson & Johnson: $99 million
McKesson Corporation:
$37 million
Cardinal Health:
$20 million
$16 million
McKinsey & Company:
$10 million
$400 million(to local governments, excluding City of Huntington and Cabell County)
$3.6 million
$82.5 million
$83 million
$65 million
$110 million ($83 m cash + $27m of product)
Allergan: $51.2 million
Publicis: $3.6 million
$26 million
Rite Aid: $30 million
$68 million

Also see the Global Settlement Tracker.

Community Advocate Guide

Christine Minhee, J.D. of OpioidSettlementTracker.com and Vital Strategies released comprehensive guides on opioid settlement funds for all 50 states and the District of Columbia! Each guide contains essential information on total funding, legal mechanism(s) governing the process, and funding allocations in each state.

Check out the West Virginia Guide for more in depth information about the state’s plan for managing and allocating funds (info is current as of 4/6/23).