Unbudgeted: How the opioid crisis is blowing a hole in small-town America’s finances
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.
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