From funding vital state services to ensuring that our children are receiving a quality education, the state budget is always the largest and most comprehensive piece of legislation passed each two-year cycle. However, with the state of Ohio suffering from a tragic opioid epidemic in which we have led the nation in opioid related overdose deaths, the state budget takes on a completely new level of importance.

To combat this deadly threat, we initiated the HOPES (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) Agenda. This package of investments was included in the final budget bill signed by the governor and represents a $180 million investment in new money to fight drug addiction through coordinated care.

The HOPES plan focuses on four key areas: prevention, treatment, mental health and our workforce.

To expand prevention efforts, we made investments in technology to develop a mobile app to connect those struggling with addiction to the necessary resources and invested millions in new public health programs.

We also expanded treatment options to help those currently addicted and their loved ones, and invested $30 million to Child Protective Services and Kinship Care, with a $32 million investment in treatment and detox programs. Additionally, we bolstered caregivers with a $14 million investment to county ADAMHS boards and expanded funding on drug court programs by $6 million.

Many times the root cause behind addiction is mental health, which we’ve addressed with major investments in stabilization centers, state supplements to disabled individuals, a drug court pilot program and probation improvement and incentive grants to try to keep parolees from going back to prison.

Lastly, the House has taken steps to help employ and support recovering addicts once they reenter the workforce through investments in workforce recruitment, using short-term certificates and behavioral health centers to help these individuals get back on track.

Knowing the deadly impact this epidemic is having out in our communities, I was proud to vote for this bill and support this plan of action. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns about the HOPES agenda or the opioid epidemic.


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