FOX19 Investigates: Funding for heroin treatment takes major hit

It is being called the largest drug epidemic in decades. More than 1,000 people overdosed on heroin and died in Ohio in 2013. That number is expected to grow by 50-60% by next year.

(FOX19) - Now the state will suffer a $20 million dollar shortfall from federal funding for local heroin treatment facilities in fiscal year 2015.

"We are getting much less money that we thought. We are losing about $650-700,000 over the year that has just begun and that means cuts to vital services," said John Bohley, Executive Director of Butler County's Board for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services.

Local heroin treatment facilities in Ohio depend on federal grants like the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant but in a memo obtained by FOX19 Investigates Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services informs them those funds will now be spread out over six quarters instead of four due to significant cash flow issues starting July 1st.

For Warren, Hamilton, Clermont and Butler counties, that means a cut of more than 30%.

Butler County will lose $766,331 compared to the funds they received last year.

Clermont County will lose $299,367

Hamilton County will lose $1,832,048

Warren County will lose $199,707.

"It's hard to help people when you don't have the funds out there to do it," says Kendra Hall.

For 17 years, Hall has helped pregnant women on heroin overcome their addiction but with more cuts coming she fears more lives will be lost.

"If there is not treatment facilities available to help these people. If the funding isn't there to get them the proper care, it's going to get worse. We already have people dying so I don't know. It's just going to get more people that are affected by this," says Hall.

FOX19 spoke with some Hamilton County treatment facilities that are confident this loss will be partially absorbed by the expanded Medicaid program.

Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services says the cuts are temporarily required to keep them from floating funds before they receive them from the government.

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