How Federal Grants to Fight Opioids Can Miss the Mark

State officials note that drug abuse problems seldom involve only one substance.
June 13, 2019 AT 8:35 AM

By Carmen Heredia Rodriquez, Elizabeth Lucas and Orion Donovon-Smith

In his 40 years of working with people who struggle with addiction, David Crowe has seen various drugs fade in and out of popularity in Pennsylvania's Crawford County.

Methamphetamine use and distribution is a major challenge for the rural area, says Crowe, the executive director of Crawford County Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission. And opioid-related overdoses have killed at least 83 people in the county since 2015, he says.

Crowe says his organization has received just over $327,300 from key federal grants designed to curb the opioid epidemic. While the money was a godsend for his county, he says methamphetamine remains a major problem.

And here's the hitch: Crawford County, which lies south of Lake Erie, on the Ohio state line, can't use the federal opioid grants to treat meth addiction.

"Now I'm looking for something different," Crowe says. "I don't need more opiate money. I need money that will not be used exclusively for opioids."

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