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Cordray Criticizes DeWine For 'Indecision And Inaction' On Opioid Crisis

Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray
Associated Press

Democratic candidate for governor Richard Cordray says his Republican opponent Mike DeWine has failed to adequately address the opioid crisis as the state's Attorney General.

Standing next to Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart, Cordray said DeWine has been ineffective as the state's chief legal advisor.

“What Mike DeWine is doing right now as attorney general is simply too little too late, and he has had no plan to address this crisis until he started running for governor this year after seven years of indecision and inaction as attorney general,” Cordray said.

Both sheriffs said DeWine’s response to the opioid crisis doesn't match the problem's growth in their counties.

“I’ve been in office for a year and a half,” Baldwin said. “I haven’t seen any improvement. The problem here in Franklin County just continues to get worse. The overdoses continue. Like I said earlier, we go to a lot of meetings and a lot of plannings but I don’t see the space for addicts to go.”

DeWine campaign spokesperson Joshua Eck counters that the candidate has done a lot to combat the crisis, including seizing $158 million worth of heroin.

“In 2011, DeWine hired a former prosecutor to lead the anti-opiate/heroin efforts,” Eck said in an email. “In 2011, DeWine shut down the pill mills. In 2013, created a dedicated heroin unit in his office that focuses on both Law Enforcement and Community Outreach that is active in all 88 counties.”

Several sheriffs throughout Ohio contacted DeWine’s office to show their support for his work's attorney general.

“It's an absurd statement for Rich Cordray to claim Mike DeWine hasn't helped with the opiate epidemic," Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton said. "That couldn't be farther from the truth. He has been on top of this issue from day one, and when he is governor, he will be able to do so much more.”

Cordray and DeWine will face each other in the fall gubernatorial election on November 6.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.