Local officials shared information on what the county is doing to prevent and treat addiction, including how various agencies are sharing data; a new school mental-health screening program; the integration of peer supporters into the jail; and various workforce training programs.
When DeWine heard new ideas, he asked follow-up questions about how specific programs work.
Some in attendance also expressed what they see as ongoing challenges in the community, including a need for those in the medical profession to be better educated on the disease of addiction; more resources for schools to deal with the onslaught of students experiencing trauma; and better access to Medicaid and prescription databases to spot trends.
The Path Forward: Addiction in Dayton
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl raised the issue of increased methamphetamine use in the region, noting that several recent police standoffs and a police-involved shooting involved people on meth. DeWine acknowledged that efforts need to be forward-looking.
“This is going to evolve,” he said, noting the state also has a mental-health crisis that goes hand-in-hand with addiction in many cases.
Once he completes his listening tour, DeWine said, he will present a package to the state legislature representing his plan for dealing with the addiction crisis. It will include the best ideas he’s heard from various communities and respond to the needs he hears expressed.
“These problems get solved at the local level,” DeWine said, and the package will reflect that.
When asked if it will include more money from the state for local government funds, DeWine said, “That’s probably going to happen.”
Officials thanked DeWine for coming and recognizing the Dayton community as a leader in fighting the opioid epidemic.
“We are not ground zero anymore,” said County Commissioner Deborah Lieberman. “We are starting to be known as a model.”