Local state senator proposes plan for resources to fight opioids

The bill would direct $200 million from the Rainy Day Fund to provide targeted assistance for addiction treatment and prevention efforts


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – Senator Joe Schiavoni announced a bill that he says would allow lawmakers and health officials to start addressing the opioid crisis immediately and send resources where they’d have the most impact.

In Ohio, one person dies every four hours from an accidental drug overdose. The state leads the nation in opioid overdose deaths.

This latest bill would contain an emergency clause, meaning all provisions except those relating to insurance would go into effect immediately when and if it’s passed.

The bill would direct $200 million from the Rainy Day Fund to provide targeted assistance for addiction treatment and prevention efforts.

Schiavoni went on to say that this legislation goes above and beyond what has been proposed by Governor John Kasich and Ohio House Republicans.

“If you talk to our local agencies, not only in the Mahoning Valley but across the state, no one can really figure out where this money is going or what money he’s really talking about,” Schiavoni said. “Last week, we saw the House put forth an additional $170 million but the concern is that there are barriers to Medicaid expansion in that bill, and it’s like taking money from one pocket and putting it into the other.”

He said using just 10 percent of the Rainy Day Fund leaves more than $1.8 billion open to address any future needs.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Local Government Funding – $100 million
    • $100 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the Local Government Fund. This funding would be earmarked for Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) boards; law enforcement; Child Protective Services; kinship care; first responders; and establishing/expanding drug courts.
  • Treatment Infrastructure – $100 million
    • $10 million from the Rainy Day Fund 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 in the most effective manner.
    • $90 million from the Rainy Day Fund to increase treatment capacity (beds/facilities). The Department will prioritize programs that are currently in operation, that are scalable statewide, and have a transportation component.
  • Insurance Regulation
    • Insurers must cover Medication Assisted Treatment – including Suboxone and Vivitrol. The bill also helps Ohioans avoid premium increases due to new treatment requirements.
  • Statewide Treatment Availability Registry
    • Require MHAS to create an online portal that shows a county breakdown of the number of available beds at detox and treatment facilities. This information would be updated on a real-time basis.
  • Education Prevention – $2 million each Fiscal Year
    • Use funds from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) to create the Opioid Prevention grant program under the Ohio Department of Education. This would support school-based prevention education initiatives.
  • Drug Take Back Programs
    • Prescription drug take back at commercial pharmacies