A nationwide report released Tuesday looks at how federal dollars are being spent on the opioid epidemic. The study from the Bipartisan Policy Center drills down on five states in particular, including Ohio, where federal spending increased from $10 per person in 2017 to $19 last year.
Here's how Ohio was allocated nearly $225 million in 2018:
Chief Medical Advisor Anand Parekh, M.D. recommends the state focus on coordinating where funds are distributed "to ensure that these treatment dollars are going towards evidence-based treatments, so medication-assisted treatment is critical as opposed to other non-evidence based treatments."
He says it's also important to focus on vulnerable populations, such as those who are in prison in order to decrease the high number of overdose deaths that occur following release.
Parekh recommends improved coordination at the state level to ensure dollars are distributed effectively and where they're most needed. There are 57 federal programs providing dollars to Ohio.
From the report:
In FY2018, many Ohio counties received increased absolute and relative funding... Gallia and Highland counties received 9.7 and 8.9 per capita, respectively, above the state median (8.8). Lawrence County remained in the lowest 25 percent in the state at 5.9 per capita. Again, the highest funding went to Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, and Montgomery counties with 56 percent combined in FY2018.
Sustainability is another key area.
"There are dollars coming into southwestern Ohio and the Cincinnati area, but most of these dollars are annual appropriated dollars - so they're one-time funding - and that matters from the perspective of localities where they're looking for a partner in the federal government to help them with sustainability efforts and looking at the longer term," says Parekh.
Communities also need the ability to be flexible so they they keep an eye on other substance abuse challenges and not be forced to focus solely on one area.
You can read the full report on the Bipartisan Policy Center website.