Rep. Tim Ryan says more federal funding needed in opioid fight - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Rep. Tim Ryan says more federal funding needed in opioid fight

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WARREN, Ohio -

Valley Congressman Tim Ryan says the fight against the opioid epidemic comes down to funding and the federal government isn't doing enough to help.

"We've done a couple things, but nothing that is adequate," Ryan said.

Ryan estimates the federal government needs to spend $10 billion to support the fight on every front, from supporting law enforcement to prevention and longer addiction treatment options.

"We have not funded these programs at all," he said. "I know the families are suffering a lot and we're continuing to push really, really hard."

Ryan says the current political climate makes it tough to get the backing to spend more taxpayer dollars. He says the current perception that government spending is wasteful is part of that.

What could help ease the financial pressure? 

Ryan says he's co-sponsoring a bill that would assess a certain amount per pill that drug companies would have to pay to fund the epidemic fight.

"I think the drug companies do have a responsibility. They made a lot of money off this," he said. 

The epidemic is costing Ohio taxpayers $5 million each year. The Ohio Attorney General says 14 people die in the state each day of a drug overdose.

Ryan says the federal government also needs to step up efforts to stop the opioid supply chain at the Mexican border. 

As for the drugs funneled through the U.S. mail system, Ryan admits fentanyl coming into the country this way is a daunting problem and needs to be addressed.

"Literally, it's a needle in a haystack and especially the synthetic versions of heroin that dogs can't really smell," he said.

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