Legislative Update: Latta seeks support on opioid database creation


By Craig Kelly - ckelly@limanews.com



COLUMBUS — An area legislator is looking for help in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.

U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green: On Wednesday, Latta questioned officials during a House Energy and Commerce hearing about efforts being made to combat the opioid epidemic. During the meeting, Latta was given assurances that federal agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the Drug Enforcement Administration, would work with him on potential legislation to create a public electronic database containing information relating to efforts to combat the epidemic.

“We can’t stop working to find solutions, and that’s why I’m introducing legislation to aid policymakers, government officials, and advocates as we work to reverse this horrific trend we are seeing around the country,” Latta said.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana: Jordan applauded an announcement made Tuesday that the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees would conduct an investigation into actions taken by the U.S. Department of Justice during the 2016 election.

“An investigation is exactly what needs to happen,” he said. “Americans despise double standards. They hate when there is one set of rules for regular Americans but a different set for the politically connected like James Comey, Loretta Lynch and Secretary [Hillary] Clinton. I applaud the chairmen for their focus on getting the truth and supporting the principle of equal treatment under the law.”

U.S. Senate

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: On Wednesday, Brown, along with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, reintroduced legislation to prevent the implementation of a higher tax threshold for seniors claiming medical expense tax deductions. The bill would maintain the claim threshold at its current 7.5 percent of income level for an additional two years. Without this measure, that threshold would increase to 10 percent for the 2017 tax year.

“High health costs shouldn’t leave seniors making the impossible decision between putting gas in the car or food on the table and filling needed prescriptions,” Brown said. “Deducting the cost of going to the doctor and buying expensive prescription drugs is a bipartisan solution to help relieve the cost of healthcare for seniors.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio: Last week, Portman questioned Kevin McAleenan, the president’s nominee for Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, on efforts to prevent synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being smuggled into the United States from areas like China.

Portman is urging that action be taken on his Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act, which he said would work to help prevent such shipments from making it into the country.

“This stuff is coming primarily from China and primarily from the U.S. Postal Service and its going straight to P.O. boxes of traffickers and users and to abandoned warehouses in my state of Ohio,” Portman said. “This poison is getting into our communities. It is again the number one cause of death now, we believe, in terms of overdoses.”

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By Craig Kelly

ckelly@limanews.com

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.