The Ohio House today put the final stamp of approval on opioid omnibus legislation after months of inaction during the rapidly growing opioid addiction crisis. Ohio was recently identified as the national leader in opioid and heroin overdose deaths by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Data.


“There is a clear disconnect between bills being passed in Columbus, and the lives that are being lost in places across the state like Akron, Portsmouth and Cincinnati,” said State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “The state can and must do more to address this statewide emergency – it is literally a matter of life or death.”


“We need to deliver emergency funding for an emergency need. Communities cannot wait for ninety days or until the next budget cycle to get the support and resources they desperately need now,” said Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati). “In the meantime, more families will lose loved ones to addiction and treatment providers will continue to be stretched thin as they try to respond to this crisis.”


The legislation, Senate Bill 319, passed after a trio of amendments from Democratic lawmakers to provide much-needed emergency funding and allow immediate implementation of the bill were rejected by GOP lawmakers.


“If politics is getting in the way of calling this epidemic what it is – a statewide emergency, we should at least be willing to address families, first responders and treatment providers with the sense of urgency and respect that they deserve,” said House Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “As we lead the nation in heroin deaths, we cannot afford to wait one more day.”


In August, Democratic lawmakers called on the governor to address the historic number of Ohioans dying from opioids and heroin by declaring a statewide emergency or releasing emergency funding for first responders, law enforcement and local health organizations.


The call for a statewide emergency was formalized through the introduction of House Resolution 510, legislation from state Reps. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and Greta Johnson (D-Akron) that garnered House Republican leadership support but has yet to receive any movement in the House.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Crucial Consumer Protections Headed To Governor's Desk, Says Rep. Sykes

 

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 123, a bipartisan effort to enact consumer protections for the thousands of Ohioans who utilize short-term loans every day. Borrowers in Ohio currently pay some of the highest rates in the nation for payday loans, with estimated average interest rates at over 500 percent.



 
 

Rep. Sykes Reminds Constituents To Prepare For Driver's License Renewal Changes

 

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) wants to remind Akron residents that beginning July 2, the procedure for renewing a driver’s license in Ohio will change. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will now mail new driver’s license cards to the applicant’s home address. A temporary card will be issued at the BMV until the official card arrives in the mail, about 10 days later. Officials say this change will reduce fraud and counterfeit licenses.



 
 

Sykes Statement On Profiling By Capitol Square Security

 

State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) today issued the following statement in response to the latest in a string of incidents where she and other black women lawmakers have been subjected to additional security measures when entering the Ohio Statehouse and other government office buildings. Upon entering the Riffe Center in Columbus last week, security officials stopped the Akron-area lawmaker despite her presenting her security access badge.