Urgent approach on drugs is proper
Often, the prudent way for a state to spend federal grant money is to disburse it sparingly, for two reasons.
First, ensuring the money is being spent effectively is important. Second, not running out of funds before the grant period ends is a consideration.
Ohio officials deserve praise for going against that conventional wisdom on one program meant to help Buckeye State residents battle substance abuse.
An Associated Press analysis has found that of about $26 million Ohio received through the federal 21st Century Cures Act program, 73 percent, or $19 million, already has been spent. Many other states have not been spending down their money that rapidly, the AP determined.
Ohio has been using its funds for a variety of purposes, including “quick response” teams getting overdose survivors into treatment. Another useful initiative has been an anti-drug education program for children.
An average of more than 13 Ohioans die of drug overdoses every day. Ohio has in place what look like effective measures to at least keep the death toll from rising.
Spending the federal money quickly, then, matches the day-to-day urgency of the substance abuse crisis in Ohio.