Mahoning County substance-abuse official speaks to Congressional panel

Staff report

WASHINGTON

Andrea Paventi, executive director of Mahoning County Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes, which tracks and tests Mahoning County substance abusers, testified Friday at a House caucus meeting on substance abuse.

She was one of five panel members speaking to the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, of which Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, is a member.

Ryan asked Paventi to give legislators her perspective on the heroin epidemic.

Paventi said the 90 percent of the individuals participating in the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court’s Drug Court have an addiction to opiates such as heroin.

Her message was that federal funding for programs through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is critical to providing substance-abuse treatment for those without the ability to pay for it.

Ryan said after the meeting that federal funding for substance-abuse prevention and treatment is “experiencing big cuts” because some people don’t appreciate the value of it.

“It’s an epidemic. It’s going on all over the country,” he said, adding that if funding isn’t provided, “We’re going to have a lot of dead people on our hands.

“We have to do something because people are dying at a rate higher than traffic accidents.”

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