Ohio anti-drug groups announce support for Portman heroin bill

Staff report

Anti-drug groups in Ohio are rallying around U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) efforts to fight drug addiction, announcing their support for his legislation, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Yesterday, Portman urged the White House to support his legislation after the Administration announced it would request additional resources to address the heroin epidemic in its budget. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to consider Portman’s bill next week.

Here’s what anti-drug groups in Ohio are saying about Senator Portman’s legislation:

“More than five Ohioans die every day due to accidental overdose and overdoses have now eclipsed car crashes as the most common reason for accidental death in Ohio,” said Marcie Seidel, Executive Director of Drug Free Action Alliance. “In working with community members and many parents who have lost children to overdose, I see the impact of substance abuse disorder and the need for an increased focus on curbing the likelihood of succumbing to this devastating disease. I believe that sweeping changes are needed to curb the crisis that we currently have in Ohio and CARA is a phenomenal commitment to making prevention, treatment and recovery to turning the corner to fight this devastating disease.”

“Local prevention coalitions are in need of more support and resources to address the numerous issues that arise from substance abuse in our local communities; yet there is a limited amount of funds available in prevention,” said Stacey Gibson, Sandusky County Health Department Director of Health Planning and Education. “Research has shown that evidence based programs can effectively prevent substance abuse, promote behavioral wellness; and prevent social and public health related problems. We also know that treatment works and people do recover.”

“Prevention education simply works. Twelve years of historical data in our county demonstrates that the onset of youth substance abuse can be delayed and allows our youth to mature and make better choices without alcohol or drugs,” said Kyle D. Clark, Prevention Education Director of the Wood County Educational Service Center.

“Our communities are challenged by today’s drug epidemic like never before. We can no longer put our heads into the sand and say, ‘this doesn’t happen here’ because no community is immune,” said Milan Karna, Coalition Coordinator Wood County. “We must do whatever we can to help those in need now and take the steps needed towards preventing and treating addiction. This is an issue that is gripping our nation. Something of significance must be done and I applaud the efforts that Senator Portman is taking in this bill.”

“In Stark County, Ohio we have seen the abuse of heroin and other opiates impact every sector of our county: from the youngest infants born addicted to opiates to young children who have lost their parents; children and youth who have been traumatized by their siblings addiction, long term struggle for recovery and overdose death to parents and grandparents who grieve for lost children and lost dreams,” said Fran Gerbig, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County Health and Wellness Manager. “It is time to build upon the solid prevention and treatment science that we have and equip our communities with the resources need to prevent, treat and remove the stigma around the disease of addiction. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 will provide communities with a multi-pronged strategy that will equip us all with the resources needed to address the nationwide opiate epidemic.”


Staff report