David Pepper, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, criticized a change in state policy that delays federal dollars going to local and county addiction treatment programs.
The delay, which took effect today, means a 34-percent reduction for Mahoning and Columbiana counties, and a 30-percent cut for Trumbull for a year while the nation and the state faces a “major heroin crisis,” Pepper said today outside the 7th District Court of Appeals in downtown Youngstown.
“This is the exact wrong time to be cutting critical addiction treatment funds,” Pepper said.
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is changing the way it pays out $63 million in federal grant money, which leaves the state with a $20 million shortfall over the next year in the program. The department is distributing the money over 18 months rather than a year because of the lag time it takes for the federal dollars to arrive.
The state has made up the shortfall in previous years from other funding sources, Pepper said.
With the use of heroin increasing, this is not the time to stop providing money to cover that shortfall, he said.
Pepper criticized Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican and his opponent, for traveling around the state talking about the increased use of heroin at “dog and pony shows,” but “doing nothing” to stop the problem.
For the complete story, read Wednesday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com