Tracking impact of tax dollars on Ohio’s fight against heroin

Millions of dollars are flowing throughout Ohio, as state and federal lawmakers try to stop the spread of heroin in its tracks.

The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in December, a multi-faceted law that’s pumping $26 million into the Buckeye State’s fight against illicit opioids. The state could receive the same amount of money in 2018.

It’s a lot of cash that could do a lot of good, but not everyone on the front lines is benefiting.

“The people that are on the street level collaborating with those in the suits who have the money access and the professional resources, those are the types of partnerships I feel like we need,” said Tyler Schmidt.

Schmidt has been sober for four years. He’s now on a mission to help others find their own path to recovery.

“It’s amazing to a drug addict like me that people (who) don’t even know me actually care about me,” Jim Doherty said.

More than 80 days sober, Doherty said a stint in the Hamilton County Justice Center may have saved his life.

“I was a homeless, helpless drug addict,” he said. “You know, I was looking for a way out. I had no idea what that even looked like.”

Then Doherty met Schmidt.

“A lot of times when I come across someone who has, you know, lost everything, from their kids to their family to their house to all their resources, you can usually tell if they’re, you know, at rock bottom and are willing to do whatever,” said Schmidt. “I’m pretty good at discerning that.”

Schmidt knew the 31-year-old Doherty needed help and was finally ready for to receive it.

“He saw something in me I didn’t see in myself,” said Doherty.

Schmidt quickly gave his new friend a small grant, administered by Shiloh United Methodist Church in Price Hill.

“The Shiloh Sober Living Grant is roughly $250, but it is two weeks of rent in conjunction with a $50 Kroger card,” said Schmidt.

The money is given to operators of sober living houses in weekly increments, and recipients have to meet…

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