AG candidate: State needs to step up for heroin epidemic - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

AG candidate: State needs to step up for heroin epidemic

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(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)
(Toledo News Now) -

Many Ohio counties are facing a heroin epidemic. The amount of overdose deaths has skyrocketed in recent years, but unfortunately, state funding for treatment has been cut by a third.

COMPASS has been providing treatment programs to people with drug addictions for decades. Leaders there say they've faced many different drug issues over the years, but nothing like what they're seeing now with heroin.

"It's going to take all of us working together and identifying what the system needs and making sure the resources are there for the individuals who seek help," said COMPASS CEO Jennifer Moser.

On July 1, most counties in northwest Ohio saw a 33 percent cut to drug treatment funding. That amounts to a big loss for some.

"We're a pretty large provider throughout the state, so our diversity and funding helps us to avoid being affected by cuts like this, but a lot of the AOD providers have been small mom and pop shops, non-profits, so they do get hit hard when these cuts come down," Moser said.

David Pepper, a Democratic candidate for Ohio Attorney General, is speaking out now about what he calls devastating budget cuts. He claims he's uncovered cuts to treatment facilities and he feels the state is ignoring the problem.

"When you have a crisis as big as the heroin crisis, and people are dying, people stealing from their own parents, the justice system is overwhelmed and the state needs to step up," Pepper said. "I think the state has left it in the hands of the local government…but at the same time, they are taking money away from those local governments, who are supposed to be dealing with the problem."

A representative from the governor's office says the State Mental Health Agency is now distributing what used to be 12 months' worth of funding over 18 months.

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