Mental health leaders say they need more beds to treat opioid addiction as they try to tackle an epidemic they say won’t end any time soon.
Beyond rehab, Trumbull County mental health officials say the Valley needs more long-term treatment beds and medical professionals to help.
The death toll from the opioid epidemic is still near record highs in Trumbull County.
A total of 117 drug overdose deaths were reported in 2021, with most cases involving fentanyl. The total number is close to Trumbull’s worst year on record, which dates back to 2017, when the county reported 135 fatal overdoses.
“I’m really concerned that our numbers will continue to rise,” said April Caraway, executive director of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Council.
She says the number of drug overdoses seems higher right now compared to this time last year. An official figure for 2022 fatal drug overdoses is not yet available.
“We need facilities that treat people in long-term residential care, we need more medication-assisted treatment,” Caraway said.
“The biggest problem is the stigma, we need the families and we need the community to realize that addiction is a disease.”
Warren’s recovery clinics offer longer-term care, but they say each person’s journey requires enough time to learn how to avoid a possible relapse.
“We constantly stay very busy, which for us is one of the things we hope for, that people are calling us asking for help and getting treatment,” said Dan Pew, director of community outreach at the Parkman Recovery Clinic.
Parkman Recovery Center, First Step Recovery and Travco Behavioral Health are part of the same company, which has a total of 100 beds.
TRUMBULL COUNTY OPIOID COURT BATTLE
The battle in federal court centered on asking pharmacies to pay for their role in fueling the outbreak resume this week in Cleveland.
In October, a federal jury found that CVS, Walgreens and Walmart created a public nuisance in the counties for failing to stop the flow of prescription pills to their Trumbull and Lake county locations. The charges date back to 2006. Both counties are involved in the lawsuit which could set a national precedent.
Testimony is expected to take place later this week.
Lawyers say 80 million opioid pills were dispensed in Trumbull County from 2012 to 2016, according to data they presented to the court.
The legal team is asking for $1 billion for each county involved in the case.