Opioid Epidemic

How Senate-Passed Version of State Budget Alters House HOPES Plan to Address the Opioid Crisis
By Adam White
Graduate Assistant
June 23, 2017 

When the Ohio House of Representatives passed its version of the state budget (H.B. 49) in early May, the bill featured a $170.6 million investment toward combatting Ohio’s opioid crisis through a plan titled Ohio HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education, and Safety). The House’s HOPES plan targeted funding toward four broad areas: $9 million for workforce development, $12.2 million for prevention, $19.4 million for mental health, and $130 million for treatment and child services. In a previous blog post, The Center for Community Solutions broke down the allocations to specific programs within each of the four HOPES focus areas.

Having passed the Ohio Senate on Wednesday, June 21, H.B. 49 now includes nearly $180 million, depending on how it is counted, in funding for combatting substance abuse. However, a close examination of the details of the Senate-passed funding package shows significant changes were made to the House’s HOPES plan to reach this higher total. Among these changes were the funding reductions and elimination of numerous House proposals, greater utilization of federal funds, and the shifting of funding from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) to dedicated purpose funds (DPFs), drawing from the Local Government Fund (LGF) to cover some of the costs. The Senate also added several new proposals of its own.

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Overdose Deaths Continue to Climb in Ohio for All Drug Categories
By:  Lori Criss, Associate Director, Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers
(This is a guest blog; please note that the author’s opinions are not necessarily those of The Center for Community Solutions.)
December 21, 2016

The Ohio Department of Health released the 2015 Ohio Drug Overdose Data in August. The data clearly show an increase in deaths from heroin and fentanyl at unprecedented rates. The administration highlighted the progress that is being made from policies and practices implemented in the past four years, namely the reduction in prescription opioids dispensed with 81 million fewer doses dispensed to Ohio patients in 2015 when compared to 2011. Ohio has also increased the use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone with nearly 20,000 doses administered by Ohio EMS in 2015. Without a doubt, policy efforts over the past five years are making an impact, but the sad truth is that in looking back to 2003, unintentional overdose deaths have increased in all categories.

Reports tout that the percentage of prescription opioid related deaths compared to all unintentional overdose deaths declined for the fourth year in a row. That sounds good until looking closer and realizing that the number of people dying from prescription opioid overdose isn’t in meaningful decline (only five fewer people died in 2015 than in 2014), but the total number of people overdosing is increasing--almost 200 percent in the past decade and 21 percent in the past year, an increase of over 500 people from 2014 to 2015.

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