The Opioid Abatement Authority's first listening session was held Dec. 1 in Roanoke. Courtesy of the authority.
The Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority, shown here at a meeting in Roanoke last year. Photo courtesy of the authority.

A residential addiction treatment and recovery center for women is coming to Abingdon with approval of the first grant award made by the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority.

The grant of $115,970 will be used toward opening the Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery Center, a 54-bed facility that will provide post-detox and early recovery services for women from 13 counties and three cities, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

State Sen. Todd Pillion, chair of the authority, called the award “a great start” and noted there are no other such facilities for women within 150 miles.

State Sen. Todd Pillion, R-Washington County.

“We are so pleased that Washington County and its partners are addressing such a significant gap,” Pillion, R-Washington County, said in the release. “And once again a community in Southwest Virginia is setting the standard for the rest of the state by being the first in Virginia to successfully apply for and receive one of these grants.”

The authority was created by the General Assembly in 2021 to administer the Opioid Abatement Fund, which receives money from settlements related to claims regarding the manufacturing, marketing, distribution or sale of opioids.

Through these settlements, about $1 billion is expected to come to the state over the next 18 years and 55% of it, or about $550 million, will be controlled by the authority. Thirty percent goes directly to counties and cities across the state, while the remaining 15% goes to the state.

The authority’s mission is to abate and remediate the state’s opioid epidemic. On Jan. 19, it began accepting applications for its first round of grants.

In addition to the funds awarded to Washington County by the authority, the county also contributed $200,000 in funding that it received directly from the settlements. The Wellspring Foundation provided another $200,000 in support, and Smyth County committed $24,072 from its direct settlement funds, according to the news release.

Additional financial support was provided by The Genan Foundation, the Vanguard Charitable Fund, Emory United Methodist Church, Abingdon Baptist Church and private donors.

The project is a collaboration between Washington County and Fairview Housing Management Corp., a nonprofit that provides residential substance use treatment and recovery housing in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Modeled on American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria and Fairview’s existing Bristol Lifestyle Recovery for adult men, the new program will employ evidence-based practices to treat women struggling with opioid and substance use disorders, the release states.

Bob Garrett, president of Fairview, said Tuesday that the stakeholders in the treatment center have been working together for nearly a year and a half. A total of $720,000 was raised to do a minor renovation to the building at 482 Bradley St. and to open the center, he said.

It is expected to open in late May or June and will employ 35 to 40 people when fully staffed, Garrett said.

Sarah Melton, who chairs the authority’s grants committee, praised Washington County for its collaborative approach on the project.

“They brought so many partners together from the community as part of this application, and when you see this kind of collaboration it provides confidence that these funds are being put to the best possible use,” she said in the release.

Susan Cameron is a reporter for Cardinal News. She has been a newspaper journalist in Southwest Virginia...