January 26, 2016

Opiate Task Force meets with state legislators

The Clermont County Opiate Task Force, May 2015.

The Clermont County Opiate Task Force, May 2015.

BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 26, 2016) — The Clermont County Opiate Task Force invited our three state legislators – Representative John Becker, Representative Doug Green, and Senator Joe Uecker – to its monthly meeting on Jan. 14.  One of the areas of focus for the Opiate Task Force is advocacy, and the group wanted to hear from the legislators about bills and issues being discussed in Columbus, as well as share concerns and needs with the legislators.

Sen. Uecker started the meeting by summarizing the many bills passed by the Ohio Legislature over the past few years related to addiction, particularly focused on those involving prescription drugs and heroin.  Reps. Becker and Green added their perspective on bills passed and pending in the House.  Members of the Opiate Task Force then provided information on the group – how and why it was started, its action plan, and the four primary areas of focus outlined in the plan: Prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and supply reduction.

For over an hour, task force members shared information and stories with the legislators. Some of the topics addressed included:

The legislators were clearly impacted by the community members who attended to tell their stories of loss and frustration, caused by losing loved ones to addiction, and the children either born addicted or who lose parents to this disease.  Rep. Green shared his personal story of how he has been affected by the addiction of a family member, which led him to sponsor legislation to help get more pregnant women into treatment.

The legislators thanked the Opiate Task Force for helping to educate them about this issue and for their service and dedication to helping people achieve recovery.  The meeting served as a step toward additional communication with our state representatives to keep them informed of the many programs and services being provided in Clermont County, as well as the many unmet needs to successfully address the heroin epidemic in this community and throughout Ohio.

For more information, contact Karen Scherra, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board, kscherra@ccmhrb.org.