Dedicating Resources to Ohio’s Opioid Crisis

The opiate epidemic in Ohio has affected not only addicts, but also their families and loved ones. Communities, too, suffer from this devastating affliction. Though it may be an uphill battle, combatting drug addiction and overdose is wholly necessary and requires coordinated commitment from many spheres. The Ohio House has remained dedicated to fighting for lives and the future of our state.

In the final budget bill signed by the governor, the state legislature allocated $180 million in new money to address the opiate crisis through a multifaceted approach. The four areas of focus that make up the HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) Agenda include prevention, treatment, mental health, and workforce development.

To prevent the spread of the opiate epidemic, we invested in technology to develop a mobile app that helps individuals find the right resources in time of need. Treatment for current addicts and care for their loved ones are undoubtedly important, and in that vein, we allocated $32 million to treatment and detox programs and $30 million to Child Protective Services and to kinship care. Millions were invested to county ADAMHS boards, and funding for drug court programs was bolstered by $6 million.

Drug addiction has both physical and mental implications. Often, mental health lies at the root of addictive behavior. In light of this, we appropriated $3 million for stabilization centers and directed funding toward state supplements to disabled individuals, a drug court pilot program, and probation improvement and incentive grants. Regarding workforce development, we wanted to support recovering addicts as they learned to get back on their feet. We did this by investing in recruitment and short-term certificates.

Combatting the opiate epidemic requires many different groups coming together to fight for a common cause. I was proud to support the HOPES Agenda, and I look forward to what it will help accomplish. Ohio is in crisis; now is the time to take a stand, and continue to do so. I welcome you to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about this agenda or the drug addiction epidemic at large.

By Jeffery Rezabek

State Representative