I am extremely disappointed that the Ohio Senate made decisions to further limit access to treatment and recovery support services for individuals impacted by the Opiate epidemic. In a time when we are losing more Ohioans to opioid overdose than ever before, we cannot make changes that will make it harder to get help. When this epidemic started in 2011, we were losing an average of five (5) Ohioans per day to overdose and now we’re losing over 11 per day.
Now is not the time to make sweeping changes to a Medicaid expansion program that is quite literally saving lives in Ohio. Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under individuals and families who are desperate for help. Now is not the time to turn our backs on communities throughout Ohio that are currently facing an increase in overdose deaths. Now is not the time to make changes that would limit access and coverage for treatment services for individuals with an opiate addiction, including pregnant mothers, veterans, and members of every community in Ohio.
As the biennial budget process continues, I recommend the continuation of Medicaid expansion along with the inclusion of the House passed funding and language associated with providing $12 million per year in funding for local Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Boards to provide for community-based treatment services and recovery supports along with nine million per year to establish nine withdrawal management centers throughout the state.
We cannot afford to sit by, and not do everything in our power to address Ohio’s opiate epidemic. Now is the time that Ohio must make a commitment continue providing access to coverage through Medicaid expansion and to fund the necessary withdrawal management/detox, and corresponding follow-up treatment services that opiate addicts so desperately need to recover. If we do not make changes to increase access to necessary services, we all need to understand that the number of individuals dying from overdoses is going to continue to skyrocket in Ohio, and I do not find this outcome acceptable in any way.
I implore Ohio’s budget conferees to maintain Medicaid expansion and restore the withdrawal management/detox services and corresponding treatment funding so that Ohioans with an opiate addiction can receive the services they so desperately need.
Adams, Lawrence, Scioto
Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental
Health Services Board