MOUNT GILEAD — Ohio is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Currently, one Ohioan dies of an overdose of heroin or prescription drugs every three hours.
To help address the state’s epidemic, Sen. Rob Portman and his staff are working to allocate federal funding designed to reduce the drugs’ prevalence in Ohio.
Stephen White, Central District Director and Counsel for Senator Rob Portman came to Morrow County on Friday to update county officials and agencies about federal programs designed to combat the opioid epidemic.
He described several new possibilities in grant funding, many of which are through the efforts of Senator Portman. His office is focusing on a “bottom-up approach” to beating the opioid epidemic.
“The problem will be solved from community,” White said. “The government has a role, but we need to start at a local level.”
To assist with local initiatives, Ohio is set to receive $26 million in federal grant monies from the 21st Century Cures Act and added funds from the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) passed in 2016.
The CURES Act is a $6.3 billion medical innovation package that is designed to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and treatments in medicine.
Included in the legislation is $1 billion in new funding for state grants to fight opioid abuse. Over the next two years, states will receive $500 million annually for state grants that can be used for improving prescription drug monitoring programs, prevention, training for health care workers and improving access to treatment for individuals struggling with a substance use disorder.
Additionally, Sen. Portman worked to enact the bi-partisan CARA legislation designed to assist pregnant and postpartum women with substance abuse issues.
Funding from the bill supports family-based services for pregnant and postpartum women with a primary diagnosis of a substance use disorder. It also aims to help state substance abuse agencies address the continuum of care, including services provided to women in nonresidential-based settings; and to encourage new approaches and models of service delivery.
The Ohio senator plans to continue his tour of counties throughout the state in an effort to inform local residents and officials about the opioid crisis.