Ohio fund sought to help counties pay bills, fight opioids

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Prescription painkillers should not be a first-choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines designed to reshape how doctors prescribe drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. Amid an epidemic of addiction and abuse tied to these powerful opioids drugs, the CDC is urging general doctors to try physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications before turning to painkillers for chronic pain. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Prescription painkillers should not be a first-choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines designed to reshape how doctors prescribe drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. Amid an epidemic of addiction and abuse tied to these powerful opioids drugs, the CDC is urging general doctors to try physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications before turning to painkillers for chronic pain. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A veteran Ohio politician is calling for a special state fund to help counties boost employment, fight opioid abuse and cover basic expenses.

Any of the state’s 88 counties, large or small, would be eligible to draw from the equalization fund proposed Wednesday by Republican Gene Krebs. The former state representative is a farmer and public policy expert from Preble County who’s running for state Senate.

Krebs cited a Center for Community Solutions study that found Ohio’s small rural towns are disproportionately poor and undereducated and pay high relative costs for crime and disability.

His proposed fund could be tapped only to: combat the opioid/heroin epidemic; develop economic programs that increase sales-tax revenue; or to cover general county expenses.

It would be assessed regularly and expire after 10 years.

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