Ohio getting $808 million in opioid settlement funds, one organization wants that to go towards “life saving tactics”
The $808 million comes from an opioid settlement from distributors who helped fuel the national overdose epidemic.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio will be receiving $808 million in opioid settlement funds, and the President of Harm Reduction Ohio wants that to be invested in what they’re calling “proven tactics that will save lives”.
Currently, Ohio is on track to see the most deaths ever due to overdoses. This would surpass the 2020 high of 5,017.
According to Harm Reduction Ohio, here is a list of the things they want the money to go to:
- Fund and Expand Existing Syringe Service Programs: In 2016, Republican Governor John Kasich made it easier for local health boards to establish syringe service programs. These peer-based programs, of which there are not nearly enough, are proven to save lives by preventing overdose deaths and connecting people to essential medical care and treatment. These critical programs need to be adequately funded and expanded so they can continue to deepen their relationships with people who use drugs.
- Put Overdose-Reversing Naloxone in Communities: Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is highly effective at stopping heroin, fentanyl, and other opioid overdoses. It can be used to save lives by just about anyone. It is critical for people who use drugs to have access to naloxone, as they are often the real first responders in an overdose emergency.
- Expand Access Methadone and Buprenorphine Treatment: Methadone and buprenorphine are effective drug treatments that also reduce overdose deaths. But there is often trouble accessing these proven treatments because they are either not covered by insurance or not readily available in local communities. Local leaders should expand access to methadone and buprenorphine by offering them in jails as well as through mobile programs.
- Invest in Jobs and Housing Programs: In order to address substance use, it is critical to consider the socioeconomic factors that can underlie and produce harms. Local leaders must invest in jobs and housing programs to help people who use drugs lead their fullest lives and have the tools and support to access the care they deserve.
- Increase Transparency and Include Community Voices in Funding Allocation Discussions: The State of Ohio has shared little details about how they plan to distribute their portion of the opioid settlement funding, or what if any say that communities will have in the allocation process. It is critical that drug users, harm reduction organizations and all at the frontline of fighting this overdose crisis have a meaningful role in the funding allocation process, as their input will be critical to helping the state save lives.
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