I prepared to watch the State of the Union Address last evening knowing that the opioid crisis was a topic to be discussed. I had hoped that there would be a greater focus and understanding of this issue for families.
Scanning the crowd in the Chamber, you could see Senators wearing purple ribbons to highlight the opioid crisis. President Trump vowed to end the crisis during a 49 second reference. The bulk of the 49 seconds was the introduction of Police Officer Ryan Holets and his wife, that adopted a baby from a heroin addicted mother. In 2016, 64,000 Americans suffered fatal overdoses and in 2017 that shocking statistic is expected to increase.
Leading up to the address, there was an opportunity to embrace the National Governors Association’s bi-partisan plan to address the opioid epidemic, but there was no mention of expanding the capacity for treatment services or accessing Medicaid to provide life-saving treatment services.
The opioid crisis has had a severe impact on the economy in Ohio and the country as a whole:
- In Ohio, the state legislature increased the budget for the Foster Care System from $45 million dollars to $60 million for the current year. There are 14,000 children in foster with only 7,000 licensed homes.
- Ohio employers are citing difficulties in recruiting skilled and trained employees due to the inability to pass a drug test.
- The United States pays $504 billion in court and prison systems.
- Healthcare costs are also spiraling upwards. The cost to reverse the effects and hospitalizations of individuals that have overdosed is estimated at $96,200 per patient.
The Women’s Recovery Center remains an active advocate to increase access to drug and alcohol treatment services for women and their families and would invite others to share in the vision of healing and recovery.