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Government/Politics

Director Of State's Addiction Agency Talks About Budget And Opioid Battle

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Daniel Konik/OGT
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Tracy Plouck is the director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The most recent stats on drug overdoses in Ohio are from 2015, when more than 3,000 Ohioans died – and the 2016 numbers are expected to be worse. The head of the state’s drug addiction agency will be on "The State of Ohio" this weekend, talking about the opioid battle and the state budget.

Critics are saying Gov. John Kasich’s budget should put a lot more money toward the deadly opioid crisis. Kasich’s mental health and addiction agency director Tracy Plouck says there’s a billion dollars in the state budget to fight the epidemic – most of it federal Medicaid money. But Plouck suggests Kasich won’t back off his income tax cut proposal, nor look to the state’s rainy day fund. “He does not want to set up a situation that is not able to be resourced in the next biennium and so we’re taking a relatively conservative approach to the overall budget.”

Plouck says the governor is encouraging local partnerships and when possible will redirect funds to programs that are helping, such as providing the overdose reversal drug Naloxone to law enforcement.

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