The opioid/fentanyl crisis is one that has taken North America by storm. The number of deaths and damage done to communities has been disheartening for everyone who hears about it. However it is often easy to forget that a problem as large as this can have many unforeseen consequences as well.
Reuters news recently published a story of the financial impact the crisis has had on small town America and it has been profound to say the least. Here is an excerpt to give readers an idea:
Ross County, a largely rural region of 77,000 people an hour south of Columbus, Ohio, is wrestling with an explosion in opioid-related deaths – 44 last year compared to 19 in 2009. The drug addiction epidemic is shattering not just lives but also stressing the county budget. About 75 percent of the 200 children placed into state care in the county have parents with opioid addictions, up from about 40 percent five years ago, local officials say. Their care is more expensive because they need specialist counseling, longer stays and therapy. That has caused a near doubling in the county’s child services budget to almost $2.4 million from $1.3 million, said Doug Corcoran, a county commissioner.
This is just one example of the dozens of communities that are suffering a similar fate as a result of the influx of opioids. The situation may soon develop to a point where it is beyond the municipalities’ control, requiring higher levels of government to step in.
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