Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy: Conquering the Drug Problem

Drug addiction is something that harms everybody in the community. Families suffer emotional turmoil and taxpayers have to pay the brunt of rehabilitation programs and prevention. Recently, the drug problem that faces Ohio and the entire country has been made known, which is the first step in reducing its severity. Prevention is the best way to stop the spread of addiction.
Unlike common belief, legal prescription drugs can also be addictive and just as dangerous as illegal substances when used inappropriately. The fact is that addictive prescription drugs are just prescribed too often and too much to patients experiencing pain and other ailments. These drugs often get in the hands of the wrong people and lead to addiction.
I believe in a more holistic approach to care for individuals who are addicted to drugs. We need to give people a stable foundation in which they can take charge of their recovery. Temporary housing and treatment resources are two things that can help them do this. Governor Kasich showed a commitment to fighting drug addiction with his introduced version of the Mid-Biennial Review (MBR).
The Mid-Biennial Review is a venue to discuss curbing the drug problem in Ohio. It is a top-to- bottom review of state government agencies and programs that was requested by the Governor in order to find ways that taxpayer money can be better spent and allocated more appropriately.
House Bill 369 is a part of the MBR that deals with changes to state law to help curb the drug epidemic. An amendment recently added to the bill redirects the $47.5 million appropriated in the budget to fund recovery housing, outpatient services, medication-assisted treatment through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. House Bill 369 has passed the House and moves to the Senate for further consideration.
What we need to overcome the drug problem in Ohio is a combination of multiple fronts. We need to prevent our children and peers from trying drugs in the first place. Then we need to provide those people who are addicted with resources and professionals that will monitor and help with their healing.
By talking to families in my district, it has become clear to me that there should be no barriers in place for addressing the drug problem and there should be no route that we aren’t willing to take to stop the spread of drugs into communities. I think that all government agencies, as well as faith-based groups, should get involved to stop the drug problem.
Solving Ohio’s drug problem is important because it will promote better, stronger families and remove the additional cost caused to taxpayers by the addicted. When we provide attention to drug prevention and properly fund drug rehabilitation we will effectively remove the market for those pedaling drugs. This starts with our families at the dinner table together and spreads from there.

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