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Butler County officials hope to land $2.7M from Ohio's opioid settlement

John Kiesewetter

Money from Ohio's settlement with four pharmaceutical companies over their role in the opioid epidemic could soon make its way to agencies in Butler and surrounding counties.

Local officials who serve on the OneOhio Governance Board announced Monday the group will begin taking grant applications for funding April 2 through May 3 via an online portal.

OneOhio is considering how it will divvy up about $51 million from the settlement across the state this year. In doing so, it's split Ohio up into 19 regions.

Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Greene, Madison and Warren counties make up Region 14, which will see about $7.1 million in grant funding.

Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller is the chair of OneOhio's Region 14. He says he hopes nonprofit, for-profit and governmental agencies involved in addiction treatment and prevention will be able to partner with similar agencies in surrounding counties on some programs.

RELATED: A private group is handling Ohio's opioid settlement money. What does that mean for transparency?

Butler is the largest county in its region and has seen the most overdoses and deaths from opioid use. Officials there are hoping for about $2.7 million for Butler County agencies from the OneOhio pool this year.

OneOhio Local Board Chair Dr. Scott Rasmus says local agencies have worked hard to reduce overdose deaths and have had some success. Five years ago, Butler County had 230 overdose deaths. Last year, there were about 130.

But more support is needed.

"The way I look at it, we've reduced it by a third and would like to get it down to zero," he says. "We still have quite a bit to go."

Rasmus highlighted the need for a crisis stabilization unit in Butler County — a facility where pressing mental health concerns that could be tied up in addiction can be addressed. Rasmus says efforts have been ongoing for a decade to establish such a center.

He also suggested the county needs better support for housing for people making their way through the addiction recovery process.

"Just realize recovery housing folks are one step away from reintegrating into the community and working in the community," he said.

RELATED: In 2023, opioid settlement funds flowed to states. Here's how it's going

OneOhio has 11 distinct priorities for how it will award grants. They include:

  • Treatment and health care services
  • Intervention and crisis support
  • Criminal and legal system services
  • Recovery supports
  • Prevention efforts
  • Harm reduction support
  • Services for children and families impacted by addiction
  • Public safety and first responder support
  • Behavioral health workforce development
  • Building and technology infrastructure
  • Other funding requests such as capacity building
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