DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley’s opioid overdose crisis has Congressman Mike Turner concerned, prompting the republican to reintroduce new legislation.
Congressman Turner is calling the new bill, “TREAT”.
Turner’s bill aims to increase federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing the Miami Valley. A problem that Turner believes can be better fought through treatment centers and correctional facilities that have more financial flexibility.
Turner said, “We have seen way too many overdoses and way too many deaths.” He added, “This is something were we need to take action and that if an individual is addicted to heroin, that we can provide them help.”
The continued spike in opioid abuse in the Miami Valley has pushed Turner to introduce new legislation to help correctional facilities treat overdoses victims.
“The ability to use federal dollars, where people are medicaid eligible or grant eligible to actually provide them treatment will enhance our success when we return them to the community,” said Congressman Turner.
Turner believes that by increasing funding for jails to treat opioid abusers, Ohio and other states can make a bigger difference before releasing addicts back to society.
“We learn in our community that the first time we come face to face with someone facing heroin addiction, is frequently in jails when they become incarcerated,” said Turner.
Fayette County Sheriff, Vernon Stanforth joined Turner in an interview with 2 NEWS and says law enforcement only has a limited amount of tools at their disposal.
“Some of the things we are only able to do, is really just let them lay there and dry out over the course of several days,” said Stanforth.
Congressman Turner says the only push back that his bill has received so far is funding it. However, Turner says this issues needs to start to become a priority,
Miami Valley Emergency service Council President, Mark Sensemen says crews in the Dayton area are being pushed to the limits.
“Dayton has been in the situation where the number of overdoses has put them essentially into almost a mass-casualty mode. Where there is so many overdoes happening at the same time, that it really spreads their resources to the limit,” explained Sensemen.