House Budget Pumps $170M into Solving Ohio’s Opiate Epidemic

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

House revisions include 1.5-percent across-the-board cuts to most programs, while protecting certain priority areas, including K-12 education.

It scraps Republican Gov. John Kasich’s tax-reform package and cuts about $2.5 billion overall from his initial budget plan, mostly by adjustments to the federal-state Medicaid health insurance program.

In a statement, Kasich said balancing the budget and restraining spending are essential to Ohio’s economy and that he’s reviewing the proposed House changes.