A research professor and forensic economic expert at West Virginia University said the opioid epidemic has taken a substantial, expensive toll on this state, preventing West Virginia from investing in its citizens because of this drug abuse crisis.

Paul Speaker, who works as a finance professor and whose area of expertise is public sector financial management at the WVU College of Business and Economics, said the cost of the opioid crisis is mounting quickly, and that you do not have to look that far to see the toll it is taking. He said the turnaround time on a lab request in West Virginia is approximately 270 days in a system that is clogged with opioid cases, causing significant delays in tests needed for countless criminal investigations.

Speaker pointed to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s decision in October to donate $1 million from healthcare-related court settlements to the West Virginia State Police to help aid in the backlog of cases in the State Police Crime Lab. Speaker, who is an expert with the Project FORESIGHT forensic science initiative at WVU and has

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