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Ohio State Establishes Drug Policy Center, Funded By Koch Foundation

Moritz College of Law

The Ohio State University announced on Thursday that they’re establishing a Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, funded by a $4.5 million dollar gift from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Doug Berman, a professor at the Moritz College of Law, will be leading the center. He says that as lawmakers try to tackle the opioid and other addiction crises, it’s essential to have research and data to back up proposed solutions.

“We need to know what’s going on, right?" Berman says. "As it already is, we’re getting some data, you know overdoses and addiction levels, but we don’t necessarily have the granular understanding of that.”

The center will look at drug enforcement polices both on a legislative and courts level, with the College of Law, the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and the College of Social Work collaborating on research. But the center will take a broader scope than just opioid addiction.

"Importantly, though the opioid epidemic is one of the pressing issues right now, we're going to be looking at other topics of current concern," Berman says. "Marijuana reform is another example."

He thinks that one of the most essential aspects of the center is understanding the intersection of various organizations trying to solve these crises.

"We see developments in the court, developments in the legislature, developments in the executive branch, industry developments, law enforcement developments, and all of those are often siloed," Berman says. "They don't necessarily communicate with what's going on elsewhere to be fully aware of what the impact of some changes are."

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.