Governor Announces Resources to Treat Ohio’s Prescription Drug/Opiate Epidemic
ODADAS to Distribute $5 Million to County Boards to Assist with Rx Abuse Treatment
Columbus, Ohio—Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today announced $5 million in federal resources for the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) to distribute to county boards for the treatment of prescription drug/opiate abuse in the state.
“In Ohio, prescription drug abuse is becoming entrenched in communities both large and small,” said ODADAS Director Angela C. Dawson. “Most of us, if not all of us, know someone, or a loved one, touched by addiction. Our goal at all times must be to ensure services remain well-funded and accessible to all who need them and to help reduce the stigma that underlies the disease of addiction.”
ODADAS’ community based system consists of 50 local Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS), Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ADAS) Boards and a system of more than 350 private, not-for-profit treatment and prevention providers that deliver services.
The $5 million is available as a result of increased federal reimbursement for Medicaid. Enhanced FMAP (Federal Medical Assistant Percentages) was set to expire on December 31, 2010, but was extended for six months at a reduced rate by federal legislation passed in August. This allocation is subject to State Controlling Board approval.
The funding allocation follows the completion of work by the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, which was formed by Strickland in April 2010. The task force issued their report and recommendations to the Governor and state legislature on October 1.
"Pain medication, when abused, ceases to treat pain and instead causes it," Strickland said. "Too many lives have been lost and too many people have become lost chasing these pills. These additional resources will help counties serve Ohioans that have fallen victim to this devastating epidemic and take precautions to prevent additional instances of abuse.”
Prescription drug abuse has been identified as a rising public health problem on the national level and has reached an epidemic in Ohio. Ohio's death rate due to unintentional drug poisoning has increased more than 300 percent from 1999 to 2007, and is now the leading cause of injury death in Ohio.
"The partnership between law enforcement and public health is our best defense against prescription drug abuse in Ohio," said George T. Maier, chairman of the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force and assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. "This partnership provides a necessary balance between the prevention, treatment, education needs and policy changes in addressing this issue from each of these critical perspectives."
“An average of four Ohioans die each day from an unintentional drug overdose,” said Alvin D. Jackson M.D., director of the Ohio Department of Health and vice-chair of the Task Force. “These funds will help prevent future overdoses by providing drug abusers with access to critical treatment services.”
The $5 million allocation will be released to counties on a monthly basis, and will increase opiate treatment access to more than 3,000 Ohioans.
Nearly $4.5 million will be distributed to all counties using the current allocation formula. An additional $547,860 will be distributed to the top 20 counties with the highest rates of unintentional prescription drug deaths calculated by multiplying the average cost of treatment ($1,600), times the average annual mortality rate for unintentional drug/medication deaths in the county area.
These 20 counties are: Montgomery, Vinton, Jackson, Scioto, Crawford, Ross, Brown, Trumbull, Clinton, Hardin, Adams, Jefferson, Clermont, Hocking, Clark, Fayette, Greene, Athens, Preble, and Franklin.
“The magnitude of the prescription drug/opiate problem in the state is real, but with these funds we will be able to increase treatment access to those suffering from the addiction of prescriptions and opiates and minimize the number of overdoses related to these powerful and pervasive drugs,” said ODADAS Director Dawson.