Ohio News Briefs


Staff Reports



Ohio National Guard helicopters and crews to leave for Hurricane Irma response effort

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two Ohio National Guard helicopters and their crews will be leaving today (Sept. 11) to stage for potential support to the Hurricane Irma response in Florida.

The 14 crew members and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment are scheduled to depart at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 from the Ohio Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility #1, located at 5990 W. Airport Drive, North Canton, Ohio 44720-1483.

The crews recently returned from providing support to Texas after Hurricane Harvey, including refueling rescue helicopters and delivering food to stranded livestock. The Chinook is a twin-engine, tandem-rotor, heavy-lift helicopter that can be used to transport personnel, equipment and supplies.

The Ohio Soldiers and helicopters will be staging in South Carolina in preparation to support the response effort in Florida.

Ohio National Guard helicopters return from Texas after assisting Hurricane Harvey response effort

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After more than a week in Texas supporting the response to Hurricane Harvey, more than a dozen Ohio National Guard Soldiers will return home today (Sept. 8).

The 14 crew members and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment are scheduled to arrive at the Ohio Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility #1.

Ohio’s assistance to the state of Texas was made possible through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (passed by Congress in 1996), a mutual aid agreement between all U.S. states and territories that enables them to share resources during natural and man-made disasters. EMAC acts as a complement to the federal disaster response system, providing timely and cost-effective relief to states requesting assistance from other member states.

Fentanyl, Carfentanil and Cocaine

Drive Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths in 2016

Promising progress – fewest prescription opioid overdose deaths since 2009

COLUMBUS – Ohio’s opioid epidemic continued to evolve in 2016 with stronger drugs driving an increase in unintentional overdose deaths, according to a new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The report shows a sharp rise in overdose deaths involving the opioid fentanyl, the emergence of more deadly fentanyl-related drugs like carfentanil, and indications that cocaine is now being used with fentanyl and other opiates. The report also contains some promising news – the fewest prescription opioid overdose deaths since 2009.

“The continued increase in opioid-related deaths reaffirms that we still have much work to do, but Ohio is seeing important progress in reducing the number of prescription opioids available for abuse and prescription-related overdose deaths,” said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and interim medical director of ODH. “This progress is significant because prescription opioid abuse is frequently a gateway to heroin and fentanyl use later on.”

Overdose deaths increased from 3,050 in 2015 to 4,050 last year, and fentanyl and related drugs were involved in 58.2 percent of them. By comparison, fentanyl was involved in 37.9 percent of overdose deaths in 2015, 19.9 percent in 2014, 4 percent in 2013 and 3.9 percent 2012. Illegally produced fentanyl can be hundreds of times stronger than heroin, and carfentanil and other related drugs can be even stronger.

With the emergence of carfentanil in 2016, the fentanyl-related drug was involved in 340 overdose deaths, most of them during the second half of the year. The number of cocaine-related overdose deaths increased from 685 in 2015 to 1,109 in 2016 – a 61.9 percent increase. Of cocaine-related overdose deaths, 80.2 percent also involved an opiate, and 55.8 percent involved fentanyl and related opiates in particular.

Of all unintentional drug overdose deaths, the percentage of prescription opioid-related deaths declined for the fifth straight year in 2016, and the number of such deaths declined 15.4 percent from 667 in 2015 to 564 in 2016, the fewest since 2009. Opioid prescribing in Ohio declined for a fourth consecutive year in 2016, according to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Between 2012 and 2016, the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 162 million doses or 20.4 percent. There was a 78.2 percent decrease in the number of people engaged in the practice of “doctor shopping” for controlled substances since 2012.

This progress corresponds with efforts to reduce the prescription opioid supply available for diversion and abuse by stepping up law enforcement efforts, working with medical professionals to establish opioid prescribing guidelines, and empowering prescribers and pharmacists to prevent opioid abuse using Ohio’s prescription drug monitoring system, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS).

Ohio is investing about $1 billion each year to help communities battle the scourge of drug abuse and addiction at the local level, including significant funding to help address treatment, prevention and law enforcement. Those resources include:

  • Helping communities purchase the life-saving drug naloxone
  • Investing in specialized drug courts that link offenders with treatment
  • Providing safe, stable housing to help drug-addicted Ohioans recover
  • Increasing funding for individuals needing addiction and behavioral health treatment
  • Enforcing Ohio’s drug laws to prevent the illegal distribution of powerful synthetic opioids

Ohio’s new two-year state budget includes an additional $170 million to support local and state efforts to combat opioid abuse and overdose deaths. At this year’s State of the State Address, Gov. John R. Kasich asked the Third Frontier Commission to provide up to $20 million to help bring new scientific breakthroughs to the battle against drug abuse and addiction. The Third Frontier Commission approved this request in May and will announce the first funded projects in December.

The state also is surging resources into communities hardest hit by Ohio’s opioid epidemic.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will receive up to $26 million a year during the next two years through the federal 21st Century Cures Act to help fight Ohio’s opioid epidemic at the state and local levels. The funding will help support medication-assisted treatment; prevention; screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment; recovery supports; workforce devel­opment; and addressing secondary trauma among first responders (EMS personnel, firefighters, law enforcement, etc.).

ODH has been awarded a four-year federal grant totaling $6.6 million to combat prescription drug overdoses. ODH has awarded grants to 14 high-burden counties to implement comprehensive prescription drug overdose prevention programs focusing on coalition development, healthcare prescriber education and healthcare system changes for safer opioid prescribing practices, and increasing access to the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone.

In addition, members of the Governor’s Opiate Action Team have met with local leaders in 20 Ohio communities that have the highest burden of drug overdoses to ensure that communities are mounting a coordinated response and taking advantage of the tools and resources that the state has made available. Promising local practices were identified during these visits and have helped inform the development of an updated Action Guide to Address Opioid Abuse as a resource for Ohio’s communities.

StartTalking

Did You Know: Children of parents who talk to their teens about drugs are up to 50% less likely to use. Start the conversation: StartTalking.Ohio.Gov

Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office is responsible for auditing all public entities in Ohio. His mission is to protect Ohioans’ tax dollars while aggressively fighting fraud, waste and misuse of public money.

Audit reports are released semi-weekly. The following audits will be released Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Entities earning the Auditor of State Award are bold and italicized. If there are findings for recovery in an audit or determinations that money was improperly spent and must be repaid, that audit will be marked by an asterisk. Audits with Medicaid findings will be marked with a plus sign (+).

A full copy of each report is available online.

Ashland

Hanover Township

Ashtabula

Ashtabula County Agricultural Society

Auglaize

Village of Cridersville

Butler

City of Monroe

City of Trenton

West Chester Township Joint Economic Development District-1

Champaign

City of Urbana

Columbiana

Beaver Local School District

Defiance

Defiance County

Delaware

Concord Township

Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District

Franklin

City of Lancaster

Fairfield County Metropolitan Housing Authority

Franklin

Brian Kelley

Carol O’Connor

Carrie Soder

Elizabeth Christy

Francine Files

Karen Reed

Kathleen Wodarcyk

Liza Canowitz

Yvonne Suggs

Gallia

Morgan Township

Hamilton

Amber Lanich

City of Madeira

City of Springdale

Deer Park Silverton Joint Fire District

Penny Plogman

Western Joint Ambulance District

Lorain

Jason Ridgel

Lucas

City of Sylvania

Danielle Barrow

John Zona

Judith Furlong

Lucas County Family and Children First Council

Mahoning

John Vargo

Montgomery

Montgomery County Family and Children First Council

Pickaway

Earnhart Hill Regional Water and Sewer District Walnut Township

Preble

Preble County Family and Children First Council

Richland

Guy Capaldo

Village of Butler

Village of Lucas

Seneca

Attica Independent Agricultural Society

Village of Attica

Stark

Charles Conklin

Summit

Bobbi Claypoole

Louann Alexovich

Tuscarawas

Rush Township

Wayne

Commuity Improvement Corporation of Orrville

Williams

Williams County Family and Children First Council

Wood

Eastwood Local School District

The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.

Josh Mandel Announces Faith Outreach Team

Mandel Campaign Continues to Build on Strong Grassroots Support

Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Mandel unveiled the latest addition to his grassroots team by announcing his Faith Outreach Team for the upcoming 2018 election.

The first policy goal of the Faith Outreach Team is the repeal of the federal “Johnson Amendment”. This piece of overreaching federal legislation, passed in 1954, regulates the free speech of religious organizations, churches and pastors. President Trump has spoken in favor of repealing the Johnson Amendment.

Ric Bowser will lead the Mandel Faith Outreach Team as the State Chairman. As Chairman for the faith-based initiative for Josh Mandel’s campaign for the U.S. Senate, Ric shares with Josh the core values of faith and family. Ric, an Anglican priest, and his wife Val, worship at St. Augustine’s in Westerville, Ohio. He has three married children and eleven grandchildren and is a pastoral counselor.

Bowser has recruited faith leaders and pastors to serve as deputy-chairs in 6 regions: Central, East, Northeast, Northwest, South and Southwest. These chairs will be responsible for recruiting faith outreach chairs throughout the state and coordinating the campaign’s outreach in the faith community.

“With Ric’s leadership, we will succeed in uniting social and constitutional conservatives around Ohio,” said Mandel. “Ric recognizes the importance of letting values inform one’s life, career, and vote. I can think of no better leader to head this initiative and help us fight to restore our God given freedoms. I am proud to have Ric and Val on our team as we fight to take Ohio values to Washington.”

“The nation is at a cultural crossroads on the decision to protect religious liberty and our constitutional rights. Josh is the leader our state needs for these times; I know no other statewide leader that has been so outspoken on defending the 1st Amendment from the incursion of government,” said Bowser. “Our goal is to unite social and constitutional conservatives across the state to rally around Josh. Josh knows that the first amendment protects the government from meddling in the religious practice of individuals, and he understands that Christians are Christians every day of the week, not just on Sundays. Josh is the leader we need fighting in the Senate to protect religious liberty, our constitutional rights, and help permanently repeal the Johnson Amendment.”

Deputy Chairs:

Bob Ostrander, Central Ohio Deputy Chair, Franklin County

Robert Ostrander, CFP, has been engaged in financial planning over multiple decades. In addition, he has been an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. The author of seven books, his professional experience includes advice to businesses, ministries, and individuals. Ostrander has participated on the boards of several public companies as well as consulting multiple start-ups. In addition, he has been featured in numerous publications, television shows, and radio interviews. Bob is formally endorsing Josh Mandel in his race for the U.S. Senate given his stance on strong families, commitment to life as well as limited government and opposition to crony capitalism.

Ed Novak, Eastern Ohio Deputy Chair, Perry County

Ed Novak is a Christian businessman living at Buckeye Lake in Perry County. Ed has worked with the church community throughout the United States for over 25 years. As a Christian business man, Ed founded a ticketing and event promotion company focused on family friendly events, centered around Judeo-Christian values. Ed and his wife Cindy are members of Genoa Baptist Church.

Diane Stover, Northeast Ohio Deputy Chair, Cuyahoga County

Diane Stover, and her husband John, founded NE Ohio Values Voters after working on Ken Blackwell’s campaign for Ohio Governor in 2006. She is retired as an IT/Security Risk Management professional and lives in Parma, Ohio. Diane serves on the boards of Cleveland Right to Life and the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio. She is a mother and grandmother and active in her church where she leads a women’s support and prayer ministry.

Pastor Gary Click, Northwest Ohio Deputy Co-Chair, Sandusky County

Gary Click serves as the pastor of Fremont Baptist Temple of Fremont, Ohio and serve as the national legislative director for the Buckeye Christian School Organization. He also serves on the Ohio Republican State Central Committee representing the 26th District. He and his wife, Nanette, have been married for 28 years and are the proud parents of four boys ranging in ages from 14-27 and the grandparents of two little girls. They reside in Sandusky County, Ohio.

Pastor John Thybault, Northwest Ohio Deputy Co-Chair, Lucas County

John Thybault, also known as, “Pastor T.” is a husband, father, stepfather, and grandfather. He has been serving in full time Christian ministry since 1983. Pastor T is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Garden Park Christian Church in Monclova, Ohio where he has been since 2010. God, family and nation are his top three passions, priorities and pursuits. Born in Michigan, John graduated from Central Michigan University in 1980, going on to seminary and acquiring a Master’s degree in Christian Counseling in 1990.

Pastor Tim Throckmorton, Southern Ohio Deputy Chair, Scioto County

Tim Throckmorton is the Lead Pastor of Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio. After working in retail management for 20 years he received God’s call to full time ministry in 1996. He serves on various ministry and civic boards including the Facility Governing Board of Star Community Justice Center and the Board of Directors of Citizens for Community Values Ohio’s Family Policy Council. Pastor Tim writes a weekly column for several newspapers in the Tri-state region and is published in Ohio and nationally in various magazines such as Our Daily Bread and the Washington Times. He is the former host of Daystar’s Tri State Celebration, as well as working in Christian Radio for 10 years. Tim has published three books and one DVD project on America’s Godly Heritage. Tim and his wife Terri have been blessed with 2 wonderful children and 2 incredible grandchildren.

Matt Byrne, Southwest Ohio Deputy Chair, Hamilton County

Matthew R. Byrne is a husband and father of three children. He is an attorney who practices employment law at a national law firm in Cincinnati. Matt is active in his Catholic parish, where he serves as a reader and as president of the parish school’s Education Commission. He is also a member of the St. Thomas More Society of Greater Cincinnati, is a former two-time chair of the Red Mass Committee, and serves on the advisory board of a pro-life pregnancy center. Prior to attending law school Matt served as a staffer in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel under President George W. Bush.

Husted Announces Titles for Statewide Ballot Initiatives

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced the official titles of the two statewide ballot initiatives that will be before voters on November 7, 2017.

The initiatives’ official titles will appear on the ballot as follows:

STATE ISSUE 1:

“Rights for Crime Victims”

STATE ISSUE 2:

“To require state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and require state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law”

Ohio Revised Code Section 3501.05 grants the Secretary of State sole authority to assign titles for statewide ballot initiatives.

Ceremony will honor Ohioans lost due to a workplace injury

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will hold its annual Fallen Workers Memorial service. The event honors the memory of those who lost their lives as a result of a workplace injury or illness.

BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison and members of BWC’s board of directors will be joined by representatives from business and labor, including Robert A. “Buz” Minor, a partner with the law offices of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, and David Barnhart, injured worker representative for the Philip J. Fulton Law Offices.

GUN OWNERS for HUSTED COALITION UNVEILED

COLUMBUS– Husted for Governor unveiled its first supporting coalition, Gun Owners for Husted. The coalition leaders are made up of prominent Second Amendment leaders both within the state and nationally. Each member joins the coalition in his or her personal capacity.

“Second Amendment backers in Ohio know that there is one person in the race for Governor who has always had their back, and that is Jon Husted,” said Husted for Ohio spokesman Joshua Eck. “Jon Husted is the only statewide official in Ohio and the only candidate for Governor to have ever earned an A+ rating from the NRA and the only candidate endorsed by Ohioans for Concealed Carry.”

The coalition members will serve as ambassadors for the Husted for Governor campaign to Second Amendment organizations and supporters as well as advise Secretary Husted and his campaign on issues impacting the right to keep and bear arms in Ohio and across the nation.

Coalition members include:

Sean Maloney, Butler County

Kim D. Campbell, Clinton County

Ohioans for Concealed Carry Board of Directors

Larry Pope, Cuyahoga County

Angela Armstrong, Darke County

Ken Hanson, Franklin County

Chuck LaRosa, Franklin County

Ohioans for Concealed Carry Board of Directors

Linda Walker, Licking County

Julie Webb, Marion County

General Charles Metcalf, Montgomery County

James W. Tekavec, Geauga County

Charles Rush, Lorain County

John Farquhar, Preble County

Frank Becker, Richland County

Rick Jones, Scioto County

Wendy Monroe, Warren County

As House Speaker, Jon Husted spearheaded passage of pro-constitution legislation to allow for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights by correcting the state’s concealed carry laws. In doing this, Husted stood up to a Governor of his own party to override a veto and turn the bill into law.

During a recent press conference, Jon Husted spoke about that legislation, saying that “with the passage of concealed carry legislation, we’ve made criminals think twice – because now they know their victim may not be defenseless.”

Husted went on to say, “My campaign for Governor provides freedom-loving Ohioans with the confidence that they will have someone in the Governor’s Office who will stick with them – not some of the time, not most of the time, but all of the time.”

Ohioans wishing to receive updates on the coalition can sign up by visiting www.JonHusted.com/Coalitions.

Jon Husted is the conservative, Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio. He is pro-life and a lifelong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Secretary Husted is the 2017 Americans for Prosperity Torchbearer for requesting a 100% cut in taxpayer funding for his office after reducing spending by 16 percent. He has been endorsed by 41 county GOP chairs & vice-chairs and is the first Gubernatorial Candidate to announce official, statewide support. He considers his most important roles to be husband to his wife, Tina, and father to Alex, Katie and Kylie.

Court: $100 Per Day Fines for Yard Signs Unconstitutional

Ohio city’s ban on political yard signs except directly before and after elections violates free speech, property rights

Toledo, OH – A federal court prohibited an Ohio city from fining citizens who display political yard signs for longer than 67 days.

The ruling, made by Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick of the Northern District of Ohio, forbids the City from enforcing local zoning ordinances to stifle free speech. The Court’s Order stops the City from determining which signs are “political,” limiting the display of “political” yard signs on private property to periods of time just before or after an election, or imposing fines on citizens who display such signs.

The ruling comes in response to a First Amendment lawsuit filed by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law on August 15, 2017 on behalf of independent Perrysburg City Council candidate Charles “Chip” Pfleghaar and other Perrysburg citizens seeking to display their discontent with Perrysburg’s elected officials.

The 1851 Center’s lawsuit asserts that prohibiting signs on private property – or limiting the display of such signs to just two months of the year – simply because the signs reference politicians, government, or public policy issues, violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 11, Article I of the Ohio Constitution.

In late July the City’s zoning inspector ordered Mr. Pleghaar to remove two relatively-modest signs advocating for his own election to city council or face fines of up to $100 per day for each day he displayed the signs in his yard.

The City cited its own local ordinance prohibiting signs with political messages except directly before and after elections, which it had previously cited to order citizens to remove Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton signs, as well as signs advocating for lower property taxes. In support of the ordinance, the City claims it prohibits political signs “to enhance the physical appearance of the City … to create an appearance that is attractive … and to improve traffic safety.”

“Ohioans should remain free to use their private property however they would like, so long as they abstain from inflicting harm on others. This of course includes displaying yard signs criticizing incumbent politicians, advocating for lower taxes, or advertising a business. When Ohio cities attempt to regulate signs on private property, they both abridge our free speech and violate our property rights at the same time,” explains Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center.

“Yard signs are an efficient way for a homeowner to criticize public officials and identify where he or she stands on an issue. These signs are particularly important to political outsiders with lower name identification and less-established donor and political networks, and likely the ultimate example of outsider-driven grass-roots politics, as the average homeowner lacks access to media outlets or the capacity to make large donations to candidates or issues.”

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.

Husted Responds to 2016 Ohio Opiate Statistics

COLUMBUS– The Ohio Department of Health released a report showing that overdose deaths in Ohio increased by 33 percent in 2016 with deaths climbing to 4,050.

Ohio Secretary of State and 2018 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Jon Husted:

“The news today that overdose deaths grew by 33 percent is tragic. Over 4,000 lives lost – not to mention the families torn apart and children left behind. This is a crisis and needs to be treated as a health emergency.

“The primary culprit behind so many of these deaths is fentanyl flowing into our country from Mexico and China. Federal assistance is needed to stop this poison from coming into our country and killing our people.

“Policy changes and treatment are important, but hope, opportunity and a shift in our values may be even more important. If Ohio was number-one in education and job creation, we wouldn’t be number-one in overdose deaths. The United States accounts for just 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 80 percent of the world’s opiates. Opioids are in high supply, but hope and opportunity are running low and that has got to change.”

Three Million in Grants for DART and QRT Teams Awarded to Address Opioid Epidemic

(STRONGSVILLE, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this morning 40 law enforcement departments and their partners will receive $3 million in grants that will be used to help replicate or expand Drug Abuse Response Teams (DARTs) and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) to address the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

“There is so much good work going on to fight this opioid epidemic and with this new grant money, we can make even more of a difference, as we all work together to save more Ohioans,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “This opioid fight is challenging, but we can continue to make progress.”

The $3 million in new grant funding from the state budget will be administered by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. At minimum, a local law enforcement agency partnered with a treatment provider. Many grant recipients included other partners, such as fire department personnel, emergency management employees, faith-based leaders, and children’s services organizations.

These DART and QRT teams generally are made up of law enforcement officers partnering with drug treatment providers and others who assist overdose survivors in the recovery process. Team members visit survivors after an overdose and offer counseling and referrals to drug rehabilitation facilities for assessment, detoxification, on-going drug treatment, and aftercare. These teams work to reduce overdose-related deaths, reduce repeated overdoses per victim, and increase the support network for survivors and their families.

Attorney General DeWine made the announcement at Strongsville Police Department, a grant recipient, along with other grant recipients.

“I am optimistic that the local initiative being launched by the Strongsville Police Department will make a difference in the opioid crises,” said Strongsville Mayor Thomas Perciak. “I am so proud that the faith community, business community and local government have partnered in this effort. And I appreciate the work being done by Attorney General Mike DeWine to make such local programs a reality.”

Grant recipients are expected to start using the grant money for law enforcement teams before the end of the year.

Attorney General DeWine Highlights Need for More Foster Families Due to Opioid Crisis; Unveils New Resources for Prospective Foster Families

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging Ohioans to consider becoming foster parents as the need for foster families has dramatically increased in the face of the opioid epidemic. DeWine’s call to action came at a news conference this morning where he also announced several efforts to help becoming a foster parent easier, including expediting background checks.

“There is a growing chasm between the number of available foster families and the increasing number of children who enter the child welfare system because one or both of their parents are drug addicts,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Today I want to issue a call to Ohioans who may be interested in being a foster parent. I ask them to make that leap and open their home to a kid or kids who could use a stable, loving home.”

DeWine noted statistics on how the opioid epidemic has impacted Ohio’s child welfare system, including:

• An estimated half of all children in foster care are there because one or both of their parents are drug addicts.

• There are nearly 3,000 more children in the child welfare system today than when the opioid crisis began seven years ago.

• As of August 5th, more than 15,000 children were in foster care in Ohio.

• However, Ohio has just 7,200 foster families to fill this need.

To aid potential foster families, DeWine announced several directives the Ohio Attorney General’s Office was undertaking to make the process easier, including:

• The creation of a webpage on the Attorney General’s website (www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/FosterFamilies) to aggregate important information needed for becoming a foster family.

• Allowing foster parent applicants to expedite their required background checks through a dedicated email address ([mailto=FosterCheck@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov]FosterCheck@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov).

• $1 million in grants to child welfare agencies to fund staff and help recruit new foster families in hard-hit counties.

DeWine was joined at his news conference by several Ohioans who work in foster care, including Kristi Burre, Deputy Director of Protective Services at Fairfield County Job and Family Services, and Kate Yonkura, a foster parent from Delaware County.

BROWN TO WHITE HOUSE ON OPIOID DECLARATION: TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and nine of their colleagues today to call on President Donald Trump to take immediate action on the opioid crisis and answer specific questions about the President’s overdue promise to declare the epidemic a national emergency. Brown applauded the formation of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and several of its recommendations, which echoed his work to combat the opioid epidemic in the Senate.

In July, the Commission provided a number of recommendations to help address the opioid crisis, including declaring a national emergency. Unfortunately, President Trump has yet to act on any of the Commission’s recommendations. In the letter sent to the White House today, the Senators ask how the administration is evaluating the emergency declaration recommendation and the steps it will take to end the opioid use disorder and overdose crisis.

“Regardless of whether you choose to declare a state of emergency, continued inaction on this issue is deeply concerning,” wrote Brown and the Senators in the letter. “In order to effectively treat this crisis with the urgency it demands, we believe you must take action immediately to expand treatment capacity, increase prevention efforts (including prescriber education initiatives), improve data sharing, and support detection and interdiction efforts to address the supply side of this epidemic – all recommendations for action proposed by the Commission you created.”

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) also signed the letter.

The letter calls on the White House to implement several recommendations from the Administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Several of the Commission’s recommendations are proposals Brown has worked on, including:

  • Eliminating an outdated cap on the number of beds at substance abuse treatment facilities that can be covered under Medicaid. Current law limits use of Medicaid funding for residential mental health or substance abuse treatment to facilities with just 16 beds or less, which prevents many Ohioans from getting the help they need. Brown has legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to lift the cap so Ohioans can get care. The Commission’s report notes this is one of the quickest ways to get people into treatment.
  • Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Brown has worked on legislation to expand use of MAT, which was included in the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported. He has also cosponsored The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (TREAT Act) to further expand access to this effective form of treatment.
  • Increasing access to naloxone. Brown has called on the government to boost funding to help first responders maintain a supply of naloxone and supported CARA, which authorized funding for overdose reversal drugs.

Developing better fentanyl detection devices for local, state and federal law enforcement, and supporting legislation Brown is supporting to stop the flow of synthetic opioids through the U.S. Postal Service. Brown teamed up with Senator Portman on a pair of bills to help block the flow of fentanyl to Ohio communities, the INTERDICT and STOP Acts. The STOP Act, which Brown is cosponsoring, would help USPS detect these drugs. Brown’s INTERDICT ACT provides Customs and Border agents with additional resources to screen for fentanyl safely and effectively.

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Staff Reports