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Opioid Epidemic

The Ohio State University recently published an analysis of the opioid epidemic, calling it the most pressing public health issue in the state and laying out the depth of the problem in stark terms. Here are just some of the statistics:

Ohio is leading the nation in per-capita overdose deaths and that rate is still increasing.

At best, Ohio only has the capacity to care for 20 to 40 percent of the people who need treatment.

A college graduate is 14 times less likely to overdose than a high school graduate.

The study offers two recommendations. The first can be acted on immediately. The legislature must increase the availability of addiction services, especially for rural areas that already lack access. It is well established that medication-assisted treatment is the most effective solution, both clinically and economically. Let’s not hesitate getting those services to our fellow Ohioans.

The second recommendation is intuitive: “The state should focus on improving the labor market outcomes of residents in areas severely impacted.” Our brothers and sisters fighting addiction didn’t choose that struggle, they don’t have opportunities for a fulfilling future. Automation and globalization have taken the jobs many families relied on, so I will support education and training for in-demand skills. But the state shouldn’t take on that burden alone. The companies that manufacture, market, and distribute these drugs have gotten rich and they should help finance our recovery efforts.

In our district, we have an excellent example of a group working to stem the tide. The Emerald Jenny Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping people find treatment in Ohio, was created in memory of Bay Village native Jennifer Emerald Ayars. The foundation has compiled an easy to use database that connects people with facilities, providers, and knowledge so they can take the first step towards recovery.

Paid for by Cassimir Svigelj for Ohio
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