Public awareness of the ongoing opioid crisis in America is on the rise, and state lawmakers and officials are growing more vocal about their concerns. The opioid epidemic has hit every state in different ways, and governors have started taking the problem more seriously.
Some governors have gone so far as to declare a state of emergency in their respective communities, calling for more assistance in fighting the effects of opioids in their home states.
Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona recently announced that his state would join the growing number of U.S. states that have declared a state of emergency concerning the ongoing opioid epidemic. Ducey signed the state of emergency declaration on June 5, directing the Arizona Department of Health Services to allocate more resources to fighting this drug epidemic. In 2016 alone, 790 Arizona citizens died from opioid overdoses.
Opioids continue to be the leading cause of overdose deaths in Arizona, and Gov. Ducey’s response included directions for distributing naloxone through state channels. Naloxone is capable of reversing the effects of an opioid overdose, and greater access to naloxone in other areas of the country has led to lower numbers of overdose deaths in those areas.
Florida Takes Aim at Opioids
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida declared a state of emergency last May. Since 2013, Florida has seen an increasing number of opioid deaths. Even worse, the state has been at the forefront of the illegal drug problem in America for decades.
Gov. Scott’s declaration encourages the state to leverage $54 million in federal funds to improve prevention measures, increase access to treatment and enhance recovery services.
Scott’s speech also brought up a concerning point: His decision follows long after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2011 declaration of the national opioid epidemic.
Over the past several years, the issue has become even more severe due to a general lack of awareness among members of the public. Had Florida taken action six years ago, many deaths could have been avoided.
Ohio City Councils Band Together
Several city councils in Ohio, most recently in Warren County, came together to ask Gov. John Kasich to release more funds to fight the opioid problem in Ohio. The Warren City Council projects that more than 1,000 overdoses and at least 170 overdose deaths will hit the county in 2017.
Kasich reported that the state has allocated $1 billion in funds to fight the ongoing opioid problem through improved treatment quality, greater access to medical resources and more engagement from law enforcement.
Gov. Kasich has the power to declare a state of emergency for Ohio, but he cannot order the allocation of funds to a specific issue without approval from Ohio state congress. Warren city councilmembers said they hope to see legislative action taken by the end of this month.
Connecticut Receives Federal Grant
On June 12, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Connecticut would receive a $3.1 million federal grant to combat the opioid crisis. Malloy reported that one of the main intended uses of these funds will be to provide young people and their families access to long-term treatment options.
The state congressional delegation explained that short-term treatment programs don’t appear to be as effective as they should be in Connecticut. In response, state officials are concentrating on establishing more accessible forms of long-term care. This approach will help more people successfully recover for good.
Rhode Island Targets Opioid Abuse
The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals will receive more than $2 million in federal funding to curb the opioid epidemic in the state. This funding comes from former President Obama’s 21st Century Cures Act that Congress authorized in 2016. The legislation provides more than $485 million in grants for states to fight the drug overdose epidemic.
Possible Federal Action Looms
Despite the fact this opioid epidemic has continued for the better part of a decade, the federal government has yet to develop a firm policy stance on the issue.
Thanks to the actions of state lawmakers and governors, leaders in Washington are starting to recognize that the opioid epidemic is going to get much worse before it gets better. While the road to this point has been marked by tragedy, it now seems that the crisis has grown so serious that it can no longer be ignored.
If you know that a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t let your friend or family member become another statistic. At Family First Intervention, our mission is to help guide individuals and families away from addiction and toward recovery.
We accomplish this by helping the entire family understand their personal roles in addiction recovery and easing their fears about treatment. Check out more of our blog for insights about getting your loved one the help they need.