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Strengthening Ohio's Fight Against Drug Abuse

Over the last six years, under Governor John R. Kasich's leadership, Ohio has put in place one of the nation's most aggressive and comprehensive approaches to fighting opiate addiction and drug overdoses. Central to this commitment has been a responsive, comprehensive and community-centered plan of action - an approach based on four strategic pillars: Treatment and Recovery, Prevention, Education and tougher, more effective Enforcement aimed at the drug traffickers and pill-mill operators who are injecting this poison into our communities. Ohio is investing nearly $1 billion each year to help communities battle the scourge of drug abuse and addiction at the local level. Because of this strong commitment, Ohio communities have access to significant funding to help them address treatment, education, prevention and law enforcement. The governor's budget proposal continues a strong investment and provides additional tools to those on the frontlines in our communities.

Enlisting Future Teachers in the Battle Against Addiction: Ohio educators who interact with children in the classroom every day are in a strong and convincing position to talk with students about the dangers of drugs. Gov. Kasich's budget will require that public colleges and universities embed drug awareness and education into their curriculum for teacher preparation programs.

Expanding Access the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System: Physician and pharmacist access to the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) has helped to curb the amount of opiates prescribed by providing critical information about a patient's prescription history. That data now will be accessible to drug courts to ensure clients are adhering to terms of the program, as well as to coroners conducting drug overdose death investigations and the Department of Medicaid to incentivize responsible prescribing practices. Sharing prescription history with key medical and legal partners will create a better understanding of the drug epidemic and help curb excessive prescribing practices. The length of record retention for OARRS will be extended from three to five years to provide more information on prescribing history.

Strengthening Pharmacy Board Investigations: By providing the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy confidentiality and granting its investigators subpoena authority, the board will gain valuable tools to better fight the opiate epidemic. A confidentiality provision encourages the reporting of illegal activity because it ensures that the Pharmacy Board can protect the identity of the complainant. This budget provision also enables better coordination when conducting investigations with other state entities and law enforcement. Subpoena authority will allow the Board to obtain important records to help build cases and improve investigations.

Increasing Access to Naloxone to Stop Drug Overdoses: Ohio will increase the availability of the life-saving opiate overdose reversal drug, naloxone, by funding an additional 20 Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) sites in high-risk counties.

Engaging Local Experts to Better Understand Drug Overdose Deaths: Authorizing a county or region to establish a Drug Overdose Fatality Review Committee will allow local experts to review circumstances surrounding overdose deaths. These committees will have authority to review multiple data sources providing confidential information about drug overdose deaths ranging from coroner scene investigations and medical history including controlled prescription usage, to mental health treatment and law enforcement involvement. Committee findings will supplement the state's extensive drug overdose surveillance activities and help inform state and local overdose prevention efforts.

FY16 Statewide Assistance to Support Fighting Drug Abuse and Addiction:

Health Care for Ohioans with Drug Addiction/Behavioral Health Issues $ 650,200,000.
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services $ 88,768,265.
Programs in Ohio's Prisons $ 31,411,160.
Department of Public Safety $ 11,069,452.
Medical Board $ 5,257,526.
Pharmacy Board $ 4,232,963.
Bureau of Workers' Compensation $ 2,900,000.
Department of Youth Services $ 2,827,469.
Department of Health $ 262,025.
Department of Job and Family Services $ 138,238,777.
Adjutant General $ 4,068,190.
GRAND TOTAL $ 939,235,827.*
*Has Not Been Updated to Reflect FY2018

BOTTOM LINE: With Gov. Kasich's new budget proposal, Ohio continues to provide tools and resources to local communities to help combat addiction and drug abuse. It is imperative that communities collaborate with those on the frontlines of this battle and put these available resources to work in their neighborhoods.