ENDING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
As Ohioans, we have a moral and economic imperative to solve the Opioid Crisis.
We Need to Stop the Bleeding
We have a crisis here in our state. More than 5000 Ohioans overdosed last year. Opioid fatalities rose 36% in 2016 and overdose numbers for 2017 outpaced those. These drugs are flooding our state and destroying Ohio families. The Stark County morgue had to buy a freezer truck to keep up with the death toll. In the face of these tragedies, Representative Bob Gibbs has voted to cut health care, defund treatment centers, and close rural hospitals.
We must take immediate steps to treat current addicts, and prevent new addictions from forming. Currently, only 10% of Americans addicted to opioids have access to treatment. There are programs in this country that have proven an ability to prevent relapse after an overdose. Certified Community Health Behavioral Clinics (CCHBCs) are specialized clinics that increase capacity, collaboration and access to treatment by partnering with hospitals, schools, prisons, and courts. Currently, Ohio does not have CCHBCs. We need to replicate those programs here in Ohio, and create others using similar models, so that everyone who needs treatment receives it without delay.
We Need to Break the Cycle
During my ride-alongs with local law enforcement, officers have said again and again: “We cannot arrest our way out of this problem.” We have to stop viewing the opioid epidemic as a simply a crime wave. Many of our substance-addicted Ohioans were prescribed these drugs by doctors. We have spoken to patients who were sent home from routine surgery with 90 pain pills when they only needed 2. In many ways, this is a man-made epidemic. Many of our doctors have begun to rethink prescriptions and this is a good start. In Lorain County, the Recovery Courts have been proven to significantly reduce drug use and crime, and are more cost-effective than any other criminal justice strategy. I will work to replicate this successful system across the District to break the cycle of addiction in our communities.
We Need to Reinstill Purpose
We need to empower recovering addicts to rejoin society. Ohio’s own Road to Hope empowers those in recovery to reintegrate back into their communities. The addicted person receives “support, guidance and faith necessary to become a productive member of society, while living a regimen of daily sobriety.” Personal Responsibility is at the heart of that program. Job training and workforce placement have been proven to dramatically decrease the relapse rate of addicts in recovery. If elected, I will make sure that these successful programs receive the resources they need to help our neighbors get back on their feet.