$3.2 billion allocated to fight opioid abuse - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

$3.2 billion allocated to fight opioid abuse

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (Source: WTOL) Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (Source: WTOL)
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

Ohio is among the top two states in the country for the number of opioid-related deaths, per capita.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur says 5,000 Ohioans died in 2016 because of opioids. Ohio also has more than 20,000 drug-addicted babies right now.  

"Those deaths are rising, despite all of our very best efforts," Kaptur said.

The latest effort is $3.2 billion, just approved in last week's budget bill, to attack the opioid crisis from a number of fronts.

Law enforcement is one of those fronts.

Congresswoman Kaptur cited arrests, just last week, in which enough fentanyl to kill every person in Toledo several times over, was intercepted in the mail.

"This is a staggering amount of poison that has come into this community," Kaptur said.

$330 million will be made available to law enforcement across the U.S. to bolster programs. Toledo Police Chief, George Kral says his department is taking the crisis serious.

"We are doubling down our efforts," Chief Kral said. "We are making sure that we are using every resource at our fingertips to identify, apprehend and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

$950 million will fund new State Opioid Response grants, providing priority funding for states highly affected by the opioid crisis, like Ohio.

"That's where we need to put the shoulder to the wheel and work across the region to apply for every single dollar," Kaptur said.

She says she plans to put together a task force to help agencies apply for grants. Congresswoman Kaptur says about half of the $3.2 billion will go towards prevention and treatment, nationwide.

Chief Kral is urging folks to get involved. If you see something, say something.

You can call 419-255-3684 to report drug offenses. You can also simply dial 911.

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