The most recent figures on drug overdoses in Ohio are from 2015, when more than 3,000 Ohioans died. And last year’s numbers are expected to be worse. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler talked to the head of the state’s drug-addiction agency about the state budget and what it means for the opioid epidemic.
Critics are saying Gov. John Kasich’s budget should put a lot more money toward the deadly opioid crisis. Kasich’s mental health and addiction agency director, Tracy Plouck, says there’s a billion dollars in the state budget to fight the epidemic. Most of it is federal Medicaid money. But Plouck suggests Kasich won’t back off his income-tax cut proposal, nor look to the state’s rainy day fund.
“He does not want to set up a situation that is not able to be resourced in the next biennium, and so we’re taking a relatively conservative approach to the overall budget," she says.
Plouck says the governor is encouraging local partnerships and, when possible, will redirect funds to programs that are helping, such as providing the overdose reversal drug Naloxone to law enforcement.