Central Ohioans battling addiction hope for more help after declaration

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) —  President Trump’s declared Thursday that the opioid epidemic is a national health emergency. That declaration will be active for 90 days and can be renewed and that gave some central Ohioans who are fighting opioid addiction some renewed faith.

Bryan Beverly has been clean for three months now, but for 16 years he’s battled opioid addiction.

“Nobody wants to live this life,” said Beverly. It’s not a life for anybody.”

What he wants from this Trump’s declaration is simply more help.

“No one should be labeled. If they have this disease there should be a program for them regardless.”

His mother, Carol Owen, says his addiction has been her nightmare.

“Bryan is two different people,” said Owen. “Bryan is a drug addict, and Bryan is my son.”

Owen said the drug addict was the one who stole her debit cards, wrecked her car, and at one point wasn’t allowed in her house. She hopes President Donald Trump’s declaration that this opioid epidemic is a national public health emergency will make life easier for parents like her.

“I’ve drove him to a hospital to spend three days to get clean and not be able to find a place to go afterward for a long-term treatment without a waiting list.”

The declaration won’t bring new federal money to the fight, but it will allow the states to redirect resources and also expand access to medical services in rural areas.

That’s one thing another recovering addict Jerry Burgos wants more than anything.

“I’m in my 60s and this is something I never expected to be doing at this time in my life.”

Burgos has been clean for one year and said he sees the struggle other addicts battle. He wants better-located rehab centers.

“There are people who drive two hours to get here.”

State representative Michael Duffey believes this declaration is the step in the right direction.

“It says it’s a marathon,” said Duffey. “It’s not a sprint. We’re going to marshal everyone’s resources together.”

The Public Health Emergency Fund currently contains just $57,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

If Congress wants to add more money to the fund, it would have to be during end-old-of the year budget negotiations.

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