ADA — The opioid crisis gripping Ohio was the topic of conversation during an area legislator’s recent visit.
U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green: On Tuesday, Latta visited Ohio Northern University to discuss the opioid epidemic with pharmacists from Hardin and Wyandot counties and professors in the ONU College of Pharmacy. The roundtable discussion focused on the perspective of local pharmacists on the issue as well as what can be done to help prevent addiction.
“Pharmacists are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and their perspective is critical to finding solutions to this problem,” Latta said. “We know that one of the most effective ways to combat this problem is preventing people from getting addicted in the first place. Their input today is invaluable as we seek ways to improve data and tracking of opioids and identify those that might be at risk of addiction. The discussion will be helpful as Congress continues to work with the White House’s Opioid Commission to curb this problem that is prevalent in communities across Ohio.”
Latta also held conference calls with sheriffs and police chiefs from throughout his district to discuss the opioid issue, particularly the prevalence of fentanyl, which was the cause for over half of last year’s overdose deaths.
The House will consider Latta’s SELF DRIVE Act this week after the legislation unanimously passed in committee. The bill aims to update federal motor vehicle safety standards to account for the evolution of automated vehicles and promote research and development in that field.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: On Wednesday, both Brown and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called on President Donald Trump to lift the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion for residential substance abuse disorder in his opioid emergency declaration. The exclusion, which was based on a 1965 policy, excludes residential health and substance abuse treatment facilities with 16 beds or less from qualifying for Medicaid funding.
“The IMD Exclusion policy was created more than 50 years ago to discourage the mass warehousing of those with mental illness,” both senators said in a statement. “But today, it stands as an outdated barrier to addiction treatment and undermines insurance parity requirements by unfairly discriminating against Medicaid beneficiaries. We urge the president to use his emergency authorities to lift this policy, which the president’s own commission, the former Surgeon General, and the National Governors Association agree blocks access to treatment in the height of the nation’s worst-ever drug overdose epidemic. By maximizing Medicaid coverage gains and offering treatment for people suffering from addiction — rather than simply arresting them or turning them away from help — we can reduce crime, save money, improve health, and save lives.”
Brown also delivered the Weekly Democratic Address on Friday ahead of Labor Day, calling for the implementation of policies he said would raise benefits and wages for American workers. The address can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/2x1hTrj.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: On Wednesday, Portman praised Trump’s calls for tax reform, saying that simplifying the tax code will spur job creation.
“Tax reform is about more jobs and better wages for American families, and I commend the president for making the case about how simplifying our complicated, burdensome, and outdated tax code would benefit our country,” he said. “Our current tax code encourages U.S. companies to take jobs and investments overseas, and that is unacceptable. I’m focused on ensuring that this reform effort encourages more investment in America, brings jobs home, and gives American workers a competitive advantage. I have been working closely with my colleagues in the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the administration on this effort, and I’m committed to getting this done for Ohio and the American people in order to help grow our economy, create more jobs, and increase wages.”