Weld’s service applauded

To the Editor,

Over the past 10 years, I’ve watched as the opioid crisis in West Virginia has invaded every community and touched nearly every family in this state. As a retired pharmacist, I’ve paid particular attention as to just how our legislature has tried to address what I believe to be the most significant issue our state faces. Because of my background and from what I’ve seen over the past four years, I support State Senator Ryan Weld as he seeks a second term as our senator.

Ryan served as a prosecuting attorney in Brooke County for several years, and took his experiences from that position and turned them into legislation that has attacked our state’s substance abuse problem from all sides. Legislation that Ryan introduced and was signed into law has given our prosecutors and law enforcement agencies new ways to help make certain that drug dealers are held responsible for what they sell in our communities. He was able to do this by creating a new criminal conspiracy bill aimed at drug sales, as well as holding dealers accountable for a death caused by a drug they sold to someone.

The problem that we face, however, can’t be overcome simply by trying to arrest our way out it. Knowing that, Ryan also addressed the issue of ensuring that those who want help can get help.

In 2018 a bill Ryan introduced helped those seeking treatment get the help they need. The bill ensures that someone who’s been prescribed treatment at an inpatient rehab facility gets checked in immediately, instead of having to wait until the insurance company gives preauthorization. This means that health insurers can no longer stand in the way of someone who is seeking out treatment for their addiction. West Virginia is the second state in the nation to adopt a bill like this, putting us at the forefront of helping those facing addiction.

Another bill introduced by Ryan and signed into law is legislation that created permanent rehabilitation programs for inmates housed in our state’s correctional facilities. This type of program doesn’t just help with addiction, but it also saves our state money. By getting inmates help to address their addiction while they’re incarcerated, they will be less likely to end up back in jail at the taxpayer’s expense. At the time this legislation was signed into law, Ryan explained that it costs about $28,000 to house one inmate each year, and this legislation can help decrease the number of people we have behind bars.

In 2016, when first elected to the Senate, Ryan promised that he was going to make this issue one of his top priorities in Charleston. He should be applauded for making good on that promise, and should be re-elected so that he can continue to do so.

Robert Marino



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