by Rep. Brad Wenstrup

Over the last few months, the COVID-19 outbreak has swept the nation and held our attention. But, it is not the only, or first, crisis to strike the United States. The opioid epidemic has been affecting Americans for years.

National Helpline at 1 (800) 662 – 4357

In fact, COVID-19 has only amplified the need to combat the opioid crisis, as stress levels rise across the country and those who are struggling with addiction face treatment delays and in-person support hurdles.

Recently, I joined Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia in Piketon, Ohio, along with other local leaders, where he announced nearly $20 million in new grants as a part of a new pilot program to address the health and economic impacts of opioid abuse in select states, including Ohio. This critical funding will help strengthen our ongoing efforts at the federal, state, and local levels to fight addiction.

Rep. Wenstrup recently joined Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia in Piketon, Ohio

Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked in coordination with local leaders and federal officials to help cut down on opioid abuse in Ohio. Last year, the U.S. Surgeon General joined me in Cincinnati to see firsthand Ohio’s promising efforts in combating opioid abuse with Department of Health and Human Services grant funds. Two years ago, Congress passed – with my support – the bipartisan SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), which targeted resources toward advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving addiction prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl.

It is critical that we continue to address the opioid epidemic, even as our nation continues fighting to overcome COVID-19, and I’m grateful to the Department of Labor for awarding Ohio this important funding.

Finally, anyone struggling with a substance abuse disorder or mental health disorder can find support through the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1 (800) 662 – 4357.

As always, you can reach out to my office to share your thoughts on this issue, or any other issues relating to the federal government, at (513) 474-777.