Health Care

Schiavoni Introduces Bill to Fight Opioid Crisis

COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Sens. Joe Schiavoni, D-32 Boardman, and Kenny Yurko, D-Richmond Heights, Wednesday announced they have introduced legislation intended to provide more resources to fight the opioid crisis in Ohio.

“This bill would allow us to start addressing the opioid crisis immediately and send resources where they’d be most useful,” Schiavoni said. “Every community is struggling to get a handle on this epidemic, but Columbus’ needs may be different than East Liverpool’s. With this infusion of dollars, local communities will have the flexibility to use these funds where they believe will have the most impact.”

The bill would direct $200 million from the state’s $2 billion Rainy Day Fund to provide targeted assistance for addiction treatment and prevention efforts.

“The opiate epidemic shows no sign of letting up,” Yurko said. “Today alone, it will claim the lives of close to eight Ohioans.”

Under the bill, $100 million would be devoted to local governments and earmarked for alcohol abuse, drug addiction and mental health boards; law enforcement; child protective services; kinship care; first responders, and establishing or expanding drug courts.

Another $10 million would be used for data collection, requiring each county to submit data to help the state understand the scope of the opioid crisis. The remaining $90 million would be used to increase treatment capacity and set priorities for programs in place.

The bill also calls for a $2 million grant program from the general revenue fund to be spent each fiscal year on education prevention and mandates that health insurers cover payment of medication assisted treatment.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.