TOLEDO, Ohio — President Donald Trump announced a new plan Wednesday allocating $1.8 billion to fight the opioid epidemic. Ohio is set to receive over $55 million in the first year.
Trump said this is his administration's effort to expand access to treatment and fight the crisis.
It comes without much surprise that several of those working to combat opioids are hopeful for what this money could do. Folks from the Midwest Recovery Center in Toledo are still waiting to see exactly what locations will get funds and how much they could get.
Although they are hopeful, there is still a bit of hesitation.
"Good and bad. Mixed feelings about it,” said Midwest Recovery Center CEO Matt Bell when he first heard the news. “I think any money is always good and the attention is good towards this space because it needs so much, but it's scary knowing that Ohio is such a big state."
Under Trump's plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will award Ohio the third largest amount of money — nearly $56 million. But spread out among Ohio’s 88 counties, Bell said he fears the funds may not go far.
As the CEO of Midwest Recovery Center, he's seen the worst of the opioid epidemic.
"This is killing amazing people and families that were once whole are being ripped apart from this,” Bell said. “This is absolutely a crisis "
A crisis so many in our community are facing head on from recovery centers, Midwest, to support groups and even law enforcement.
Sgt. Steve Rodgers with The Lucas County Sheriff's Office DART unit said over the phone he's hopeful. He said if it's a grant system, they will apply to receive funds to help pay for medication used to treat overdoses, equipment and more. Money often restricts community resources and Rodgers said he feels this will be vital to the county.
Bell said he's still learning what could come, but he knows what they would do first if awarded some of the money.
"We have detox beds, but where do you go afterwards,” Bell questioned. “Where can you go live in a place that has structure and accountability? And the fact is that they just don't exist, so that would be our first go to."
As several dream about what they can do with the money, they know there's good to come from the Trump administration’s announcement, even if they don't know all the details just yet.
"I have no doubt that this is truly a community problem and regardless of who gets it, somebody will benefit,” Bell said. “Even if it's just one life that's saved because of a dollar that comes in, then it's a good thing."
By the end of 2019, the Health and Human Services will have awarded $9 billion to help prevent and treat opioid addiction.
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