Editorial: Opioid funds can’t arrive too soon

A recent editorial by the Toledo Blade:

One headline last week brought home the reality that the opioid epidemic continues to pummel northwest Ohio, it was this one on Aug. 2: “1-year-old boy revived with Narcan in South Toledo.”

The child would have died but for the quick response of emergency crews and the lifesaving medication naloxone.

The ravages of this epidemic aren’t going away, and, while the pandemic stole the awful spotlight, the epidemic of opioid addiction continued.

Fighting this epidemic takes money and patience, along with education and assistance to those needing help. The money is on the way in the form of funds from a state opioid settlement approved by Lucas County and the city of Toledo. The money, likely near $25 million over 18 years, cannot get here soon enough.

Those funds alone hardly compare to the costs of the epidemic in our region, which the University of Toledo found to hit more than $1 billion — and that was back in 2019.

The importance of using that money wisely cannot be overstated — lives and the future of many families in our community hinge upon the resources that added funding makes available. The funds cannot be used to create additional bureaucratic responses but must go to the front line people and organizations providing resources and treatment for those caught in the throes of this disease.

Once the money arrives, city officials and county commissioners should make sure there’s public input on the process and then move swiftly in getting the money to work. …

One important goal should be to increase public training on the administration of naloxone — moments can make a difference in whether there is time to save someone suffering from an opioid overdose. The more community members who have a couple doses nearby and know how to administer them, the better. Lives can be saved.

The task is daunting, for the community and our elected leaders. We cannot give up; too much is at stake. Fighting the battle against the opioid crisis can turn lives around, and perhaps save more children from overdoses and childhoods lost because family members couldn’t find the help they needed.

More funding increases the odds of success in this battle. Those funds must be spent wisely on programs with proven outcomes.

— Toledo Blade, Aug. 12