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Ohio Democrats Want Cabinet-Level Opioid Abuse Office

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot

Democrats in the Ohio House say they plan to drop a bill in the lame duck session of the legislature later this year that would, among other things, create a cabinet level position to deal with drug policy.

Rep. Richard Brown says Gov. John Kasich’s executive order to create an opioid action team is only temporary.

“While we appreciate what’s been done, we don’t think it’s enough yet," Brown says.

Brown is proposing a bill to create a cabinet level office to work with communities in fighting opioid abuse. Brown says mayors and both the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates have proposed a similar office.

Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling says that won’t solve the problem and that the state is spending $1 billion dollars on the opioid crisis now.

But Brown notes heroin and fentanyl overdoses kill more Ohioans under 50 than car accidents, breast cancer and gun violence combined.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.