Trumps’ opioid state of emergency declaration could impact local communities

This Wednesday, June 7, 2017 photo shows discarded used hypodermic needles without protective sheaths at an encampment where opioid addicts shoot up along the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass. Syringes left by drug users amid the heroin crisis are turning up everywhere. They hide in weeds along hiking trails and in playground grass, get washed into rivers and onto beaches, and lie scattered about in baseball dugouts and on sidewalks and streets. There are reports of children finding them and getting poked. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – President Trump declared a state of emergency with the opioid crisis, but some does it really mean for individual communities ravaged by opiate.

Local organizations are applauding the president for taking action, but said it may take some time before we see any relief.

Both Cornerstone Project and Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services believe federal assistance could have a positive impact on addressing the opioid crisis.

“I think it will open up some doors for some other services that we can provide for our clients.  Transportation, housing and some other case management things,” Cornerstone Project, Community Outreach Manager Wendie Jackson said.

According to Montgomery County ADAMHS representative Ann Stevens, “Declaring a national emergency is typically for short term epidemics or natural disasters.  This is a long-term epidemic.  No one thinks it’s going to heal itself fast.  It’s going to take a long time.”

The bipartisan opioid commission made several recommendations including the development of a national prevention strategy, improvement in treatment programs and a reduction in the supply of heroin, fentanyl and counterfeit pills.

“It’s going to free up some federal funding to the states and trickle down to local communities.  That would really be helpful.  It’s not just a matter of throwing money at the problem though. There are many things that we need to be doing,” Stevens said.

Congress approved $1 billion in funding, over two years, for state grants to fight the opiate epidemic as part of the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016.  It’s unclear how much additional funding will be provided.

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