The state will receive $26 million to fight heroin and prescription drugs, part of a pot of $485 million in grants that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering to battle the drug epidemic.
According to Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, the money will be used over the next two years for medication-assisted treatment, prevention, screening, recovery supports and addressing secondary trauma among first responders, including law enforcement and emergency medical technicians.
The money comes from the 21st Century Cures act, a law enacted in December 2016 that will provide $1 billion over two years to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic. Sen. Rob Portman fought for opioid funding to be included in the bill. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also supported the bill, but protested when the distribution of federal dollars was slow to go out. Brown and other Democratic colleagues sent a letter to President Donald Trump earlier this month calling for the money to be released.
Portman called the money “good news for Ohio.” He visited treatment and recovery facilities in Eaton and Massillon. “This legislation is now starting to benefit our state,” he said.
Brown said, “Ohio communities have long been asking for help to combat the opioid crisis, so I’m glad to see the resources we secured last year have finally been announced and will soon help individuals and families get the treatment they need.”
The Democrat also argued that repealing the 2010 health-care law known as Obamacare would also harm recovering addicts who rely on the Medicaid expansion for their addiction treatment.