Local leaders agree that opioid use is national emergency

Local leaders weigh in on Trump's decision to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Local leaders who deal with opiate problems say it was the right decision to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

President Donald Trump made the announcement on Thursday. He says the nation will spend more money and time dealing with opiates.

Brenda Heidinger of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board hopes the declaration of the opioid crisis as a national emergency will allow people to get more access to treatment.

“One of the big items in that report is having the centers for Medicaid remove the limit of the number of beds in a treatment facility,” she said.

Heidinger says right now, Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic, New Day and Braking Point Recovery Center only have 16 beds a piece, which puts a limit on how many people can be treated.

She’s hoping the limitation will soon be lifted.

“It’s a lot more people you can get into services immediately, instead of having to wait,” Heidinger said.

State Representative John Boccieri says he agrees with President Trump on the national emergency declaration. Boccieri recently discovered how the trucking industry has been impacted by drugs.

“It’s affecting our ability to hire qualified workers,” he said. “I met with truck industry representatives yesterday, and they said the exact same thing. They can’t get folks to pass a drug test.”

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan asked the President to make the opiate crisis a national emergency in April.

In a statement, Ryan says he is disappointed it took President Trump this long.

Republican Congressman Bill Johnson says he welcomes the decision and the county has to fight the drug problem together.

It’s much of the same in the Senate, as Democrat Sherrod Brown — much like Congressman Ryan — says the declaration is long overdue. Republican Rob Portman says he applauds the Trump Administration’s decision.