House Republican budget proposal includes $170 mil to fight opiate epidemic in Ohio

House Republican budget proposal includes $170 mil to fight opiate epidemic in Ohio

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - House Republican leaders rolled out their version of the state's two year budget, Tuesday. In it, is an additional $170 million to fight the opiate epidemic.

Lieutenant Bobby Chromik of the Lucas County DART unit is on the front lines of the opiate epidemic every day.

He says it's good lawmakers are looking at funding the issue. He'd like the money to be spent on things like age appropriate K-12 education, recovery and treatment centers, sober living environments.

"Medicated assisted treatment, vivitrol, Narcan. I mean, I think there should be a Narcan kit hanging in every gas station and restaurant in Lucas County and throughout the state of Ohio," he said.

Chromik also said expanding DART throughout the state would also help.

"All 88 counties have a DART Unit. I think they'll see their success rate for opiate abuse, move in the direction it should go."

Here's how the 170 million would break down: $130 million would be used for treatment, including $20 million to expand treatment facilities.

Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) said, "What we don't want is that somebody finally gets to the point where they are ready to receive
help and they can't find a bed. So they'll bottom out and go back to using and it's the same spiral we've been in."

  • $12 million would be spent on prevention, including a smartphone app and 24 hour hotline.
  • $9 million would go towards workforce needs to help put former addicts back to work.
  • $19 million would go towards mental health.

The bill is a revision of Governor John Kasich's proposed budget, released in January. Other revisions include 1.5-percent across-the-board cuts to most programs, while protecting certain priority areas, including K-12 education.

It scraps Republican Gov. John Kasich's tax-reform package and cuts about $2.5 billion overall from his initial budget plan, mostly by adjustments to the federal-state Medicaid health insurance program.

Kasich's office said balancing the budget and restraining spending are essential to Ohio's economy and that he's reviewing the proposed House changes.

Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) said she was pleased with the work members of the Finance Committee put into creating the budget.

"I am also thrilled with the announcement that more money will be going to our public schools and the increased level of resources being put towards the fight against the opioid epidemic that plagues much of our state. As this process continues to progress, I look forward to reviewing the entirety of the new substitute bill in greater detail," Gavarone said.

If the bill clears the House, it would move to the Senate. Majority Leader Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) released a brief statement to WTOL 11.

"This is becoming a very challenging budget year for Ohio.  To be clear, we are not Washington.  We cannot put debt on our children and grandchildren's futures.  We will meet our constitutional duty to enact a balanced state budget by July 1."

Follow WTOL:  

Download our app here

Copyright 2017 WTOL. All rights reserved