DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today unveiled 12 new initiatives to combat the state’s opioid crisis.It’s part of what he’s calling his Recovery Ohio plan.
Officials at Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services say the attorney general’s announcement works to bring another level of public awareness to a problem that continues to take lives.
DeWine’s new recovery plan includes – among other things – more treatment options and an expansion in prevention programs.
He’s proposing anti-drug education in all Ohio schools and a statewide media campaign.
He also suggested an expansion in early intervention programs to target more Ohio families and children in foster care.
ADAMHS Director of Treatment and Supportive Services Jodi Long said many of those things are in alignment with what’s already being done on the ground in the Miami Valley as part of the county’s Community Overdose Action Team, also known as COAT.
She said prevention, education and outreach are just some of the things her teams are focused on.
“The opiate crisis has really change over the last 12 months,” Long said.
“Where initially, two or three years ago we saw prescription drug abuse, then we saw heroin, then we saw fentanyl, and what we’re beginning to see is a move towards methamphetamine and so certainly the opiate crisis – I don’t like to just talk about the crisis but addiction as a whole – we will always deal with addiction and we have to address the opiate crisis as an issue around addiction.”
DeWine’s announcement comes after the president declared a national emergency in response to the opioid crisis. Long said it’s good news that local, state, and federal governments are all in alignment on the issue.
DeWine’s “Recovery Ohio” 12-point plan includes:
- NUMBER 1: Pass legislation to give the Governor the ability to declare a public health emergency statewide or in specific areas, which would allow for the distribution of money and other resources to local entities that are facing unexpected emergency conditions like overdose spikes, and creating an accelerated process for state licenses or approvals in critical professions such as the medical or social work fields as well as expedited licensing reciprocity with other states.
- NUMBER 2: Create a 21st century law enforcement data infrastructure that allows real-time, statewide data sharing and brings state-of-the-art data analytics and crime prediction to every Ohio law enforcement agency.
- NUMBER 3: Expand proven drug task force models that specifically target and disrupt the flow of money and drugs from Mexican drug cartels.
- NUMBER 4: Create at least 60 more specialized drug courts.
- NUMBER 5: Double the substance use treatment capacity in Ohio.
- NUMBER 6: Expand workforce of critical specialists.
- NUMBER 7: Empower employers to help employees with substance use disorder to seek treatment while remaining employed.
- NUMBER 8: Help business owners hire employees in recovery by offering employers incentives and reducing risks.
- NUMBER 9: Create a special position reporting directly to the Governor with Cabinet-level authority, who works every day with the single-minded focus of fighting the opioid epidemic.
- NUMBER 10: Implement proven Kindergarten-12th grade drug prevention education in all Ohio schools.
- NUMBER 11: Roll out a statewide drug prevention media campaign
- NUMBER 12: Expanded early intervention programs that target Ohio families and children in foster care.