Ohio Dems: Use rainy day fund to fight drug crisis

Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Democrats are introducing legislation that would pull millions of dollars from the rainy day fund to combat the state’s opioid crisis. Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) is sponsoring the bill.

“Every community is struggling to get a handle on this epidemic,” he said.

The bill would funnel $200 million or 10 percent from the Rainy Day Fund to provide targeted and specific addiction treatment and prevention efforts. The Rainy Day fund currently has about $2 billion according to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.

“This bill would allow us to start addressing the opioid crisis immediately and send resources where they’d be most useful,” Senator Schiavoni said.

The bill would specifically move $100 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the local government fund. The money would be earmarked for alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services boards, law enforcement and first responders.

$90 million from the fund would go to increasing treatment capacity in hospitals and treatments centers statewide.

$10 million would be for data collection. Each county would be required to submit data to help the state understand the scope of Ohio’s opioid crisis, and allocate resources accordingly.

The bill also creates insurance regulation in which insurers must cover Medication Assisted treatment including suboxone and vivitrol. The bill also mandates the formation of an online portal that shows a county breakdown of the number of available beds at detox and treatment facilities.

Senate Majority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“The opiate epidemic shows no signs of letting up,” Senator Yuko added, “Under the Republicans’ current plan, this crisis will claim many more lives before any real results are seen.”

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