DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Opioid deaths in Ohio are at a ten-year high, and experts in Montgomery County say the rise in stress, isolation and economic disruption may be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Substance use disorder really touched almost all of our families and our extended circles, but so has COVID in some way,” said Dr. Nancy Pook, Medical Director of the Network Operations Command Center at Kettering Health Network.
Anita Kitchen, executive director of Families of Addicts said, “Two-thirds of the American people have a loved one or knows someone that has addiction issues.”
In Montgomery County, 322 people died from drug overdoses in 2020. The county lost 282 people to addiction in 2019, which is about a 14 percent increase.
“For substance use disorder, removing as many barriers to care as possible is something we think is really important,” said Marti Taylor, CEO of Onefifteen in Dayton.
Recently, Congressman Mike Turner introduced two bipartisan pieces of his legislation. The Medicaid Reentry Act would create a new path for addiction assistance to a vulnerable Medicaid population. The Mainstream Addiction Treatment Act (MAT) would expand access to a life-saving opioid addiction treatment option.
Turner said the Medicaid Reentry Act would “provide direct assistance by reinstating Medicaid insurance coverage to provide treatment for individuals who are incarcerated prior to release,”
“We need the service care providers to be able to come into the jail before the people are released and get them restarted with the programs they’ve been in,” said Rob Streck, the Montgomery County Sheriff.