Addiction specialists want Gov. Kasich to declare state of emergency

Naloxone, heroin antidote (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Ohio Governor John Kasich said during his State of the State address Tuesday night that he wants the state to invest $20 million in coming up with new ways to combat the state’s opioid epidemic, but the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board is saying “we need more.”

Since January, there have been 224 overdoses in Trumbull County and other parts of the state are reporting high numbers as well. Experts say more needs to be done to fight the problem.

The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board plans to pass a resolution asking Gov. Kasich to declare the drug epidemic a state of emergency. They want him to release money from the Rainy Day Fund to help get more people the treatment they need.

“I can’t afford to pay $450 a day for a person to get in-patient treatment, and that’s what it costs,” April Caraway said. “Look how many people we have who need that, so we need more money to get people the help they need.”

Kasich’s office said the state is investigating significant resources in drug treatment, prevention and law enforcement. The state has allocated $1 billion in annual spending to combat the epidemic, according to Press Secretary Emmalee Kalmbach.

Kalmbach added that there is no specific authority under Ohio law to declare a “public health” emergency. If he did, she said there’s no automatic funding stream as a result.