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Ohio House budget pumps $170M into solving state's opiate epidemic

By JULIE CARR SMYTH AP Statehouse Correspondent Published: April 25, 2017 12:03 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A plan unveiled Tuesday by majority House Republicans includes funding for a smartphone app, a 24-hour hotline and other inventive ways to tackle Ohio’s opioid crisis.

Speaker Clifford Rosenberger, Finance Chairman Ryan Smith and others said their version of Ohio’s two-year operating budget adds over $170 million to address the scourge driven by prescription painkillers and heroin.

Smith said lawmakers prioritized the problem despite an $800 million revenue shortfall. He says their budget protects K-12 school funding as much as possible. It rejects the governor’s proposed tax increases and cuts $1.5 billion overall.

The $170 million will support development of an app to direct Ohioans to the nearest community resource for help. It will also fund community coalitions, transitional housing, local rehabilitation centers and help obtaining short-term job certifications.

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