Thursday, May 01, 2014

Was Ohio heroin epidemic caused by budget cuts?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine, both Republicans, have been on a crusade to tell parents and teachers to talk up drug prevention with youngsters. Kasich calls his program 'Start Talking' and has funded the program through a federal fund.

Gov. Kasich has made significant cuts to health, and addiction programs. Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald notes on his website:

... Heroin Overdose Deaths Increased 59.6% Under Kasich’s Leadership: “Overdose deaths related to heroin increased 59.6 percent between 2011 and 2012 — the largest increase of any drug, according to Ohio Department of Health numbers.” [Mansfield News Journal, 4/18/2014].....

....Funding for Social Workers, Mental Health Programs, and Other Human Services Slashed over 50 percent Across the State on Average: “Deep cuts have been made to all local governments and to special districts. Health and human service levies were hit especially hard, losing 54 percent of state aid, on average.” [Policy Matters Ohio, 9/13/2012]

Kasich Eliminated Separate Departments Of Mental-Health And Substance-Abuse, and Combined Into One Agency: “Two state departments serving Ohioans with mental-health and substance-abuse problems will be merged into a single, more-efficient agency with ‘less bureaucratic clutter,’ the Kasich administration announced yesterday. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services will be combined effective July 1, 2013, pending legislative approval.” [The Columbus Dispatch, 5/5/12]....


When drug counselors, nurses, doctors, and social workers lost their jobs, it was only a matter of time before drug abuse would increase. People who abuse drugs need help, but Kasich eliminated or decreased the amount of intervention that is available to those that are addicted.

Cuts to local governments resulted in less police and emergency personnel available to prevent crime and assist the overdosed individual.

Kasich cuts have hurt our communities, our schools, and our people. It is time to support Ed FitzGerald for Governor.