Local officials in Steubenville, Ohio recently met to discuss issues related to the drug abuse crisis in the area, focusing particularly on how the region needs to allocate more funding and resources for opioid addiction recovery services.
The discussion panel was hosted by the Jefferson County Progressive Democratic Coalition at the Eastern Gateway Community College and included figures such as the county’s commissioner, substance use disorder specialists and opioid addiction recovery providers.
The Executive Director of the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board Pamela Petrilla used the discussion panel to explain that the county has one of the highest rates of fatal opioid-related overdoses in the state.
She also said that she has the goal of opening an addiction treatment center that offers programs lasting three months specifically to the people who have an opioid use disorder. However, that will not be possible until Petrilla’s agency is able to secure the adequate funding, which is yet to happen.
In the discussion panel, Ohio State Representative Jack Cera highlighted that there is a lack of addiction treatment services in the area as well as beds to accommodate those who need medical support for an opioid use disorder.
He added that the county will not be able to have a new addiction treatment center until the state and federal governments provide more funding for substance use disorder recovery services.
Overall, Ohio has been more negatively impacted by the opioid epidemic than most of the states in the rest of the country, which is what prompted initiatives such as the Ohio Community Health Needs Assessment Project
According to a report released by the project, Trinity Health is the only provider of inpatient drug detox services in the county, with a facility that has only eight beds.
Through the project, Jefferson County officials as well as the Catholic Health Initiatives and the Trinity Health System, have looked to prioritize measures that can better meet the needs of the community members who have substance use disorders or struggle with mental illnesses.
The local organizations hope to expand detox and opioid addiction recovery services, to create innovative rehabilitation programs, and support groups for those with substance use disorders. They are focusing on implementing efforts that can curb other types of addiction, such as gambling addiction, and developing strategies to reduce the number of residents who smoke cigarettes or use other nicotine and/or tobacco products.
Local law enforcement officials are also making moves to combat the opioid crisis by focusing on curbing prescription drug abuse.
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