The White House held a conference call Tuesday afternoon on the importance of Congress approving President Barack Obama's request for more than $1 billion in funding to fight the nationwide opioid drug epidemic.
During the call it was revealed Ohio could be eligible for up to $45 million over two years beginning next year, expanding access to treatment.
After listening to the speakers on the call, Tom Stuber, the chief executive officer and president of The LCADA Way, said "the $45 million will not go very far." He explained the amount would be divided among the 88 counties in Ohio, leaving about $250,000 per year per county.
LCADA Way is a private nonprofit organization with an annual budget of about $5 million. The organization offers 41 treatment and prevention services, including help with alcohol, drug and gambling addiction and mental health services.
Stuber said that his agency is among more than 200 in the state offering treatment services. LCADA Way expanded to Medina County in the last year.
Participating in the conference call were Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy; Chief Richard Biehl of the Dayton Police Department; and Matt Zone, Cleveland City Council member and National League of Cities first vice president.
Botticelli said the Obama administration understands there is a problem and said the federal government "can't end this epidemic alone." He also said that if individuals want help, they should be able to receive it.
Zone shared statistics for May, noting that 19 Cleveland residents had overdosed due to heroin, fentanyl or a concoction of the two. "It's really a public health crisis," Zone said.
In reference to the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Boticelli said the law will not have help readily available to those who need it, and that is why new legislation proposed by the president is "crucial."
The bipartisan CARA bill was introduced by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
This story has been edited to reflect the following correction: The amount per county per year is about $250,000.
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