Opioid Crisis: Recovery and Roadblocks

There are as many as 170,000 Ohioans who abuse or are addicted to opioids, according to a recent study from the Ohio State University’s Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy.

There are many who make it into recovery. But there are many who don’t. Last year, more than 4,000 ended up in morgues. Emergency rooms, courts and jails have become the front lines in the battle – with pictures like this one distributed in 2016 by the East Liverpool Police Department showing the horrors they’re facing every day. As Andy Chow reports, advocates believe these programs fill in the gaps of connecting addicts to the help they need.

The opioid crisis has blasted devastating holes in families – and those victims will be healing for decades. There are more than 15,000 kids in Ohio’s foster care system and just 7,200 families to take them in. And the number of babies born addicted has gone up eight times what it was in 2006, costing hospitals $133 million. A new $2.5 million facility is now open in Kettering near Dayton to help babies and mothers in a quarter of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The journey addicts take when trying to put their lives back together is not easy but they can be successful.  Jo Ingles reports on two things essential to recovery – mental health treatment and job retraining.

As you’ve heard, money is a big part of battling this epidemic: to pay for law enforcement, treatment, health care and social services, among other big ticket items.  The state has filed a lawsuit against five drug manufacturers, and is also considering adding drug distributors as well. But it could be years before any settlement that might come could help people in need now. So as with any statewide crisis, state money is considered key. But there are still plenty of questions about whether Gov. Kasich and state lawmakers are doing all they can.

Advocates say treatment opportunities are desperately needed. Two experts from Ohio State University who’ve looked at the state’s efforts to battle the opioid crisis say Ohio only has enough treatment capacity to reach 20 to 40% of the addicts who need it.

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