U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Pamela Patenaude discusses what she learned from a roundtable on the opioid crisis today. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, also participated. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Trump administration praises Dayton region’s drug fight

The Dayton region’s response to the opioid crisis received strong praise from members of the Trump administration, who are in town today to get a view of the deadly epidemic from the ground.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Pamela Patenaude this morning met with local leaders during a round table discussion to learn more about the scope of the drug problem and what local organizations are doing to combat it.

Patenaude said she was thoroughly impressed with the number of community leaders and organizations in the region that have teamed up to tackle the problem.

RELATED: Montgomery County joins legal fight against opioid drug companies

“They are getting the job done but are committed for the long haul,” she said, “and I have never seen this type of collaboration done before.”

She also said, “But I also heard, this is not going away. They are in this for the long run.”

Montgomery County has the highest unintentional drug overdose death rate in the state of Ohio.

RELATED: ‘We’re making a difference’: A day with Dayton’s overdose response team

But since forming the Community Overdose Action Team in late 2016, local officials say they have made progress to improve and expand treatment, prevention and intervention.

“Montgomery County has been viewed as ground zero of the opioid crisis, and we have lessons that we have learned as the community has responded and the opioid deaths have declined,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton.

RELATED: Stronger drugs push heroin to the background

Drug addiction can contribute to housing instability and homelessness.

People who live on the streets and can’t find a stable environment are more susceptible to substance abuse, and part of achieving permanent recovery is obtaining safe, affordable housing, Patenaud said.

Part of reason the region has seen success in its battle against opioids is because health care and housing providers are working together, Patenaude said.

THE PATH FORWARD: Can Dayton go from ‘overdose capital’ to a model for recovery?

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