America's ongoing opioid crisis has long attained epidemic status in the seven different central counties in Ohio and has been ravaging the local community. Juvenile offenders are more than often involved in many of these cases. Commissioners from these counties require financial aid in order to secure the resources to address both these individual cases and the larger opiate epidemic itself. However, concerns have risen over the amount of financial aid they have been receiving from the state of Ohio as of lately.
Dave Burke, state senator for the Ohio Senate’s 26th District, recently held a legislative briefing to discuss the matter of financial aid being received from the state. The 26th District of the Ohio Senate includes seven different counties, such as Crawford, Sandusky and Wyandot. Jenny Vermillion, the Crawford County Commissioner, determined that the commissioners from all seven of the counties should join forces because they are “in the same boat,” sharing the “same concerns.” She used the words “pillage” and “rape” to describe the current budget of John Kasich, the current Governor of Ohio, and concluded that the state of Ohio needs to take better care of its counties.
It was the County Commissioners Association of Ohio that organized this legislative briefing, so that Dave Burke could convey his message and the concerns of all the Commissioners could be shared. Brad Cole, the Managing Director Research at CCAO, mentioned that would several other meetings of this nature, each of which would somewhat revolve around one of Ohio’s state senate districts.
Brad Cole also summarized all of the legislative measures that would be CCAO’s top priority between 2017 and 2018. Thus, CCAO looks forward to restore the lost revenue, which happened because the Medicaid Managed Care Organization sales tax was eliminated. The opiate epidemic has put tremendous pressures on the counties, which will also be addressed. Indigent legal defense will receive 50% reimbursement and voting machines will also be replaced.
The fact that opiate epidemic has lead to parent addiction has also put pressure on the child protective services. Similarly, the additional costs associated with an increasing number addicts being imprisoned in county jails has also put pressure on the justice system. All of the commissioners shared the same opinion of this being a problem and one of them even pointed out that jail expansion would cost approximately $10 million.
It is obvious that the opiate issue has immensely increased the cost that counties have to bear. Despite accepting that this is indeed a problem, Dave Burke did not make any promises in terms of financial aid. He acknowledged the “very high” number of opiate addicts in the state of Ohio, but added that unlike other states, Ohio actually has a precise number to work with and so they problem could supposedly be fixed.
It seems that the first step that needs to be taken is for counties and local schools to work with each other to ensure that children remain in schools. Furthermore, the only way counties will be able to spend money appropriately is if they have some in the first place. Even though the countries are investing in the necessary resources to ensure that juveniles do not progress to the adult system, they are not receiving the required financial aid to pay for those resources.