breaking news

Pike County murders: 2nd grandmother posts bond, released from jail

Dayton Mayor Whaley behind plan for cabinet-level office to address opioid epidemic

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley joined mayors from several other Ohio cities Thursday in Columbus to support a bill that would create a cabinet-level Office of Drug Policy.

The legislation, being introduced in the lame-duck session by state Rep. Richard Brown, D-Canal Winchester, is modeled after suggestions from the bipartisan Ohio Mayor’s Alliance of ways in which state and local communities could better communicate and share best practices to combat the opioid epidemic.

“We need a unified and coordinated response and it needs to be in partnership with communities,” Whaley said.

Brown said he is looking for bipartisan support of the bill, but has not yet spoken with Republican leaders in the House and Senate. He said both candidates for governor — Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine — have indicated interest in creating a drug policy office.

DeWine included the creation of a cabinet-level position in his 12-point “Recovery Ohio” plan released last October.

RELATED: AG DeWine outlines opioid initiative ideas

Whaley, along with Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard and Groveport Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert, shared some of the innovative solutions their cities have done to decrease overdose deaths. Cities need a more efficient way to share those ideas and resources and avoid expensive duplication, Whaley said.

“We have found ways that could really be replicated in other communities,” she said, noting Dayton is preparing a 50-page report on what has worked locally to reduce drug overdose deaths significantly from mid-2017 to now.

“We need more than ad hoc piecemeal approaches,” Brown said.

The current Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team was created by executive action from Governor John Kasich, Brown said, and therefore is temporary. His bill would create a permanent office to address the crisis now and into the future, he said.

How to get help: An opioid addiction resource guide

The Mayor’s Alliance recommendations include seven functions such an office could fulfill:

  • Coordinate anti-drug efforts from across state and local governments.
  • Act as a source of information on innovative new programs communities are adopting and better publishing best practices.
  • Help to facilitate cooperation between local governments.
  • Seek new sources of funds, through private and public means, for drug prevention and treatment.
  • Review existing agency rules to remove barriers to treatment.
  • Establish a telephone hotline for community leaders to be able to contact with questions and information.
  • Require quarterly public reports of opioid addiction progress and challenges to the General Assembly.
  • Require the Governor to appoint a Director of Drug Policy to oversee the new department

RELATED: New challenge for recovering addicts: Finding a job

Whaley and the others said cities have lost $2 billion in local funding from the state since 2011, leaving many to fight the opioid crisis on tight budgets. This bill wouldn’t add money back to local government fund, Whaley said, but cities could see cost saving through better coordination.

“What works in Dayton may or may not work in Columbus or Canal Winchester, but we frankly just don’t know without a strategic partnership from the state,” she said.


Can Dayton go from ‘overdose capital’ to a model for recovery?

Mother of 7 rebuilding family after addiction

A day with Dayton’s overdose response team

Q&A: Learning from addicts, helping families

Dayton Recovers leader envisions brighter future for region after opioid crisis

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Sen. Brown: Democrats can win Ohio in 2020 if focus is on workers
Sen. Brown: Democrats can win Ohio in 2020 if focus is on workers

Sen. Sherrod Brown said a Democratic presidential candidate can win Ohio in 2020 if he or she focuses on middle-class people who work hard but “never get ahead” and do not “have the kind of retirement security they should.” Although Brown said he has not decided whether he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination, he...
Butler County native named to head EPA
Butler County native named to head EPA

President Donald Trump tapped Andrew Wheeler to be administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an agency the Butler County native has been acting head of since July. Trump unexpectedly announced his decision Friday at a White House ceremony where he was awarding the presidential Medal of Freedom to seven honorees. Citing Wheeler&rsquo...
Ohio congresswoman may challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House
Ohio congresswoman may challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House

Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Cleveland Democrat who led the Congressional Black Caucus from 2012 to 2014, is considering challenging Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House. Fudge, whose spokeswoman said she was unavailable for comment Thursday, told late Wednesday she was considering a run for the top leadership position, and a spokeswoman Thursday...
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown talks about potential presidential run on WHIO Radio
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown talks about potential presidential run on WHIO Radio

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says his message of fighting for workers resonated in his recent election victory and he told WHIO Radio that’s the message he’d push if he decides to run for president in 2020. Right now he says he’s having family discussions about a potential run, but no decision has been made. “I don’t know what...
‘Heartbeat’ abortion bill passes Ohio House
‘Heartbeat’ abortion bill passes Ohio House

After more than an hour of heated debate, a controversial abortion ban that Gov. John Kasich vetoed two years ago passed the Ohio House on Thursday 60-35 and now heads to the Senate where its fate is unclear. The ‘heartbeat bill’ would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is as early as six weeks into a pregnancy...
More Stories