Ohio Spending $733 Million on Substance Abuse and Recovery Efforts

by Lawrence Wilson


Tax dollars are funding more than $733 million in substance abuse education, prevention and treatment in Ohio, according to a report from Gov. Mike DeWine.

Recovery Ohio 2021 Annual Review details spending on at least 47 projects related to education, workforce development, prevention, harm reduction, treatment, public safety, and data and technology.

Accidental drug overdoses have been the leading cause of death in Ohio since 2007, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In 2020, 5,017 people died of overdoses in the state, a 25% increase over the previous year.

Fentanyl was a factor in 83% of heroin-related deaths in Ohio, 80% of cocaine-related overdose deaths, and 79% of all methamphetamine-related overdose deaths.

The lion’s share of Recovery Ohio funding in 2021, $695 million, was spent on prevention programs and resources for school children. Of that amount, $20 million was devoted to prevention education and professional development for educators. The remaining $675 million went to help districts create student wellness and success initiatives, including mental health support, through the Student Wellness and Success Fund.

Evidence-based prevention education and programming was designed on a district-by-district basis by Addiction and Mental Health Services boards, school district administrators, educators, and prevention providers based on needs identified through each school district’s self-assessment.

Nearly 400,000 children have received education and had access to mental health and wellness programs in 90% of Ohio school districts, according to the report.

Other funded projects included the following:

  • $9.75 million for creation of an anti-stigma campaign in partnership with the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance.
  • $2 million for public education and outreach by the Ohio Department of Insurance.
  • $85,000 awarded in grants of $5,000 each to 17 clinicians and one Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program for treating opiate patients with medication assisted treatment.
  • $4.5 million granted from funding received through the federal government’s COVID-19
  • Relief Block Grant to create a Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion at Ohio University for the purpose of building infrastructure and capacity to address Ohioans’ mental, emotional, and behavioral health.
  • $2.5 million for rapid deployment of 60,000 doses of naloxone to communities within the 23 counties with the highest mortality rates from drug overdoses.
  • $54,450 distributed in stipends of $2,475 to 22 Project DAWN programs for hosting Overdose Awareness Day or Recovery Month events.
  • $800,000 to support 17 to support child advocacy centers and trauma recovery centers whose finances were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $11 million will be provided in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 to Ohio’s ADAMH boards to partner with service providers to support long-term wellness for adults with frequent psychiatric hospitalizations or contact with the criminal justice system. Supports include help with housing and utilities, transportation, medication and medical copays, psychiatric home health care, mental health peer support and guardianship fees.

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Lawrence Wilson is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “A Patient Undergoing Therapy” by AdAstra77. CC BY-SA 4.0.




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