"The fact of the matter is the governor was very aware that the state was getting closer and closer -- and I'm not going to say how close -- to having the Court order the state to build another prison," Benjamin said.
He said that order would have likely cost the state $250 million to build the new facility.
Morrisey agreed that substance abuse was a scourge upon the state.
While he said his office cannot comment on potential cases or pending investigations, he said the matter was both a criminal and economic issue.
"Substance abuse is a jobs issue, and we must attack it with vigor," Morrisey said.
He said his office was committed to getting to the bottom of the problem. To do so, it has formed a five-person task force within the office to target the epidemic.
"We're working on that issue, and you're going to like what you see over the course of the next few months," Morrisey said.
He said the task force will work collaboratively with law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as with industry officials, "because everyone needs to be a part of the solution."
He also promised his office would take a comprehensive approach to tackling the problem.
"We're not going to just take shortcuts," he said. "We're going to do it right and we're going to analyze this issue from both the supply and the demand perspective."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.