FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – Mayoral hopeful Dr. John Crawford says the city needs to dedicate a lot more money for substance abuse treatment centers.
He says he’d put part of his own paycheck on the line to see that happen.
Allen County health officials reported 127 fatal overdoses in 2017.
102 are verified so far for 2018, but autopsy results still pending may cause that number to go higher.
It’s a big enough problem nationally, that life expectancy in the U.S. is dropping.
“And it’s all because of suicides, drug abuse and overdoses, totally,” said Crawford, a cancer doctor and Republican mayoral candidate.
He is convinced getting more quality drug treatment facilities in town is a top priority.
He is now calling on current mayor Tom Henry to allocate a half million dollars from this year’s city budget to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Task Force for Opioid Strategic Planning, to leverage state and federal matching funds.
He also is pledging, if elected, to make a personal sacrifice for the cause.
“When mayor, I will allocate $40,000 of the mayor’s salary to the opioid task force to help them fight this process,” Crawford said.
The head of the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium says a major funding shortage is for treatment beds that serve as a bridge for addicts just coming out of hospitalization or jail.
“If we don’t have the resources to fund that first step out of the system into independence, that’s where we fall off,” said executive director MaryClare Akers.
Crawford is running against business leader Tim Smith and David Roach in the Republican mayoral primary that will be held May 7th.