Today, David Pepper, Democratic Nominee for Ohio Attorney General, made the following statement regarding a new state policy that will lead to drastic cuts to funding for county addiction treatment services. The Associated Press revealed today that counties providing addiction services will face a $20 million shortfall over the next fiscal year in the midst of Ohio’s growing heroin crisis.
“There is already far too little treatment for heroin addiction in this state, and the waiting lists are already far too long,” said Pepper. “To make dramatic cuts to treatment providers all across Ohio—as the crisis continues to explode—makes no sense.”
According to data from the Ohio Department of Health, heroin deaths in Ohio soared 60% to 680 in 2012. The Attorney General’s Office estimates that over 900 Ohioans died of a heroin overdose in 2013. The cuts will have a direct effect on the ability of local communities to treat Ohioans suffering from addiction. In Lorain County, for example, this shortfall will mean a 40% budget cut at a time when the county is seeing dramatically increasing need. Other counties will face similar levels of cuts.
“State leaders, including Attorney General DeWine, talk endlessly about the heroin crisis without doing much of anything. Now it turns out they’re actually going in the wrong direction by slashing treatment at the grassroots level. This is unacceptable, and it must be fixed.”
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