Columbus Council President Says Federal Plan For Opioid Crisis Needs Funding
A report commissioned by the Trump administration makes over 50 recommendations for federal government to battle the opioid epidemic. Columbus City Council president Zach Klein, though, says he's skeptical the administration will provide the necessary financial resources to carry out the recommendations.
The commission, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, recommends a number of strategies that are already being implemented in Columbus. That includes drug courts - which allow those addicted to drugs to pursue treatment in lieu of prison time - and a Prescription Drug Monitoring Systems, like the one already in use in Ohio.
Klein says these are good ideas, but until the Trump administration procures funding for them, he'll remain cautiously optimistic.
"Really, what we've seen thus far from Washington is principles and guidelines, many of which we've adopted, but the reality is we need money," Klein says.
Last week, Trump declared the opioid epidemic a "public health emergency," which will allow for the quick hiring of personnel, plus flexibility in how grant money can be used to combat the epidemic.
Despite the urging of advocates and politicians like Sen. Rob Portman, Trump did not declare the opioid crisis a "national emergency," which would have granted access to money from the Federal Disaster Relief Fund.
A recent study finds Ohio is spending as much as $8.8 billion a year fighting the opioid epidemic.