Westbrook to enhance drug treatment programs

Awarded $1M from state agency

PARKERSBURG — Westbrook Health Services in Parkersburg will be using funding the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Monday to enhance drug addiction treatment programs it already offers in the community.

Westbrook Health Services Inc., 2121 Seventh St., Parkersburg, has been awarded $1 million from the state for drug treatment services, the DHHR announced this week. The St. Joseph Recovery Center LLC, to be located at St. Joseph Landing campus in the former St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1824 Murdoch Ave., Parkersburg, was awarded $3 million from the state for drug treatment services from the same grant program.

Westbrook Health Services Inc. will receive the $1 million to provide a drug and alcohol-free residential, long-term treatment environment for recovering consumers, while they build the life skills necessary to reintegrate back into the community, according to a press release from the DHHR.

“Westbrook Health Services is grateful for the confidence afforded us with the $1 million award for the provision of substance abuse services in Region 3,” said Kevin Trippett, president and CEO of Westbrook Health Services. “We know it was a tough decision to allocate the funds among so many potential providers and appreciate the faith shown in the quality services provided by Westbrook.”

Officials at Westbrook recognize the depth and breadth of the substance abuse problem in West Virginia and here locally, Trippett said.

“We are committed to making our neighborhoods healthier and improving the quality of life for our family members, friends, and neighbors struggling with substance abuse challenges,” he said. “Westbrook is confident that these startup funds will enable us to enhance the services we already provide to the community.

“As a comprehensive behavioral healthcare provider, Westbrook provides a complete continuum of care from detoxification services, short term residential treatment, long term residential treatment, recovery services, and outpatient treatment,” Trippett said.

The Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund, also known as House Bill 2428, was passed by the West Virginia Legislature during the 2017 regular legislative session. This legislation mandates that DHHR identify need and allocate additional treatment beds in the state to be operated by the private sector, the DHHR said.

These beds are intended to provide substance use disorder treatment services in existing or newly constructed facilities.

Delegate John Kelly, R-Wood, who sponsored House Bill 2428, said the bill was created to address the growing drug problem in the state, including Wood County, which, he said, had “a severe drug problem.”

The entire state was in need of long-term treatment options, Kelly said.

Many people going through treatment do not find lasting success unless they can be in a long-term treatment program and really commit to it, Kelly said Tuesday.

Kelly said he wrote the bill before the session began and was open enough to accept changes and revisions from people and professionals who know more about treatment options.

“I worked it hard in the Legislature,” he said.

Other bills were introduced that primarily tried to deal with the people dealing the drugs, Kelly said.

“There was nothing to help the victims,” he said.

The bill ended up passing unanimously in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate.

“I was told this was one of the most important bills passed during the last regular session,” Kelly said of reactions from his colleagues. “This bill will get people the help they need.”

Kelly wanted to get long-term treatment options available for Wood County as well as the rest of the state.

Around $22 million was established for the fund.

Kelly was told there were 22 applicants for this first round of funding. If they could give everyone what they wanted it would have cost $67 million-$69 million, he said.

“The competition was fierce,” he said. “To be approved for funding organizations really had to stand out. Both facilities (from Wood County) stood tall.”

Kelly said he had no say in who was awarded funds with the selection process done within the DHHR.

“The fact that we got two awards, that said we really had a need,” he said. “Both had good programs. I am happy and proud to have been able to get them this funding through the bill. Now we need to work together to get this problem taken care of.”

For nearly 70 years, Westbrook has been a part of the community and it strives daily to provide the highest quality of care and support, Trippett said.

“Our staff live, work, participate and care about their community,” he said. “They are licensed, certified, trained, and vested in making a difference locally.

“We feel honored that the state of West Virginia has entrusted us with drug company lawsuit settlement funding and pledge to do our part to reduce the impact of drugs in Region 3 to the best of our ability,” Trippett said.