YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Lawmakers are coming together to pass legislation that would address the heroin epidemic in the state and take steps to counter it.
In Ohio, heroin has become an epidemic over the past five years.
Fatal drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the state. Statistics show that, on average, three people a day are dying from the drug, and those people are getting younger.
The CARA Act, aimed at heroin and prescription drug prevention, passed the House this week with bipartisan support. The Senate passed it back in March.
“These are 18 or 19 comprehensive bills that we’re pushing really hard for,” said Representative Tim Ryan. “This is to make sure we are aggressively trying to prevent people and kids and adults from getting addicted in the first place by monitoring and limiting the over-prescribing of these kids of opioids that people get so addicted to.”
According to medical officials, heroin and prescription drug addiction is destroying lives in Ohio and across the nation. That’s why lawmakers say something has to change.
“The opioid and heroin epidemic is national and it’s deep, and it’s deeply rooted in many communities, and it’s intense,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to make sure the resources make its way down to the local communities.”
In the Valley, mental health and recovery experts are thankful for the bill but say they need resources and funding to help make this epidemic a thing of the past.
“We need to make sure there is enough funding being provided along with this legislation to fund the providers to help with evidence programs, to fidelity and to make sure the resources get out to the people who need them,” Caraway said.
The differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation will be worked out in conference in the coming months.