Ohio’s Biennial Budget Bill Tackles Opioid Crisis

With Ohio still in the throes of an opioid abuse epidemic, Ohio’s lawmakers and the Governor continued their work over the first half of 2017 on addressing the issue through provisions enacted in HB 49, the biennial budget bill. Recent reports have shown that opioid overdose deaths jumped over 32% last year, and are being fed by the emergence of newer more potent opioids such as fentanyl and carfentynil. Opioid abuse remains a significant problem that is negatively impacting not only state and local governments, but is tearing apart families and leading to a decrease in work productivity in those communities most affected.

HB 49 attempts to address the opioid crisis by appropriating $180 million over the biennium to attack it on several different fronts:

Mental Health and Addiction:

  • Requires Superintendent of Insurance to develop consumer education on mental health and addictions services insurance parity and creates a hotline to help consumers understand their benefits
  • Creates medication addiction treatment (MAT) standards for prescribers
  • Creates and funds the County Hub Program to combat opioid addiction to be administered by each ADAMHS board
  • Continuum of Care Services funding to ADAMHS boards for subsidized support psychotropic medication and MAT needs of indigent citizens
  • $20 million for recovery housing
  • $2 million for workforce recruitment and retention

Child and Family Welfare

  • Community Innovation Funds of $3 million in FY 2018 and $4 million in FY 2019 to provide funding for community projects that focus on support for families, assisting families in avoiding crisis and crisis innovation
  • Data collection and sharing by agencies that serve multi-system youth
  • Permits a county family and children first council to establish and operate a flexible funding in order to assure access to needed service by families and children in need of protective services

Criminal Justice

  • Creates a pilot program for mental health courts, including antipsychotic drugs that are administered in long-acting injectable form
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in specialized docket programs for drugs
  • Specific grants in support of addiction services alternatives to incarceration
  • Provide specialized re-entry services to offenders leaving prison
  • Creates the Psychotropic Drug Reimbursement Program, through which county jails are to be reimbursed by ODMHAS for psychotropic drugs dispensed to inmates

Wellness and Prevention

  • All Roads Lead to Home program includes a public service announcement (PSA) campaign, website and 24-hour hotline
  • $500,000 each fiscal year to support evidence based prevention in school settings
  • $1.5 million each fiscal year for ADAMHS boards to purchase the provision of evidence based prevention services from providers certified by ODMHAS

Local Government Fund (LGF) Priorities to help local communities:

  • Creates a new fund, Targeting Addition Assistance Fund (TAAF) in FY 2018 and 2019
  • Directs the funds to be utilized as follows:
  • $1 million by the Department of Health for Toxicology Screenings to reimburse county coroners for screenings for drug overdose deaths, and requires screenings for certain drugs
  • $5 million to the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to allocate grants to municipalities to provide services to those addicted to opiates and supplement grants distributed by Community Nonresidential Programs
  • $6 million for Substance Abuse Stabilization Centers to be allocated to local ADAMHS boards, a center to be located in each state psychiatric hospital region
  • $150,000 by ODJFS for Children’s Crisis Care facilities
  • $500,000 for Brigid’s Path Pilot for neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • $5 million through ODMHAS for ADAMHS boards to use for the Continuum of Care services
  • Continued funding for naloxone for local law enforcement through project DAWN in the county.

It is safe to say that the issue of battling the opioid crisis will remain an issue of concern for all levels of government, as the impacts of these HB 49 provisions are assessed, and the need for further state legislation is analyzed.

It is also worth noting that in addition to the HB 49 provisions, administrative rules went into effect on August 31st around the prescribing of opiates for acute pain. These rules limit prescribing for acute pain to seven days for adults and five days for minors.


Categories: The Lobby