To the Editor:
I am writing to discuss Ohio’s opiate epidemic. Each week, we continue to see rashes of overdose deaths in communities throughout Ohio. A new variation of heroin or fentanyl shows up and the number of overdoses and deaths spike.
We recognize that our Federal, State, and local leaders have put forth a variety of efforts to address this epidemic, but collectively we have not yet done enough. People throughout our community, our state, and our nation keep dying.
We all need to do more. We need to do more to educate individuals about addiction, we need to do more to treat individuals with addiction, we need to do more to support families impacted by addiction, and we need to do more to remind people that there is hope. Hope and understanding that treatment works and people recover.
We recognize that to address this scourge we must start at the local level, but our local efforts alone will not solve this problem, just like the Federal or State government alone cannot solve this problem. In order to overcome this opiate epidemic in Ohio, we all need to come together. It’s going to take all of us working together in every community throughout the state to end this epidemic. And we need to make sure we’re taking on this issue on every front, with every available dollar, in every way possible. We need to focus on prevention, education, intervention, interdiction, treatment, and recovery. Every sector of society is impacted by this epidemic and it’s going to take every part of every community to develop a solution to this problem.
It’s going to take resources, it’s going to take tremendous effort, and it’s going to take innovations. We need to ensure access to treatment in real-time. We need to put harm reduction programs in place. We must educate all Ohioans about this epidemic, about addiction, about treatment, and about how to get help. We must talk about how addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and about how treatment works and people recover. All Ohioans – every sector of every community – must come together to marshal all available resources and leverage all relationships to effectively end this epidemic in Ohio.
Attached is a Resolution that our Board passed at our Board meeting on April 18, 2017 urging the Governor to declare the opiate epidemic an emergency.