Recently, there has been an increased amount of discussion and media attention on the opioid epidemic plaguing the state of Ohio. Although it may seem that this topic has received more attention recently, the epidemic has been an issue of priority for the Ohio House for several years. Even still, it is something that continues to take hold of families and communities across the state, and it will take a collective effort to find solutions.

The data is staggering and looking at the information for 2015, it is clear that more has to be done. Recently released data from the Ohio Department of Health specified that in 2015, there was a rise in the use of fentanyl causing the number of unintentional drug overdose deaths to increase from last year. Fentanyl is a strong synthetic narcotic, and when mixed with heroin, it can be even more deadly. As the state tackles the prevalence of fentanyl, our efforts to respond to the misuse of other opioids has produced some encouraging results.

For example, if you examine the numbers for unintentional drug overdose deaths, the percentage of prescription opioid-related deaths has declined for the fourth year in a row. This is because various initiatives have focused on reducing the availability of opioids that could be abused. We have been working with law enforcement officials to encourage Ohioans to properly dispose of unused medication and have increased our monitoring of prescriptions through the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System.

One other area of focus is prevention and education. This is an area that I especially care about because the well-being of Ohio’s kids and young people is vitally important. A helpful website is  The website empowers parents with information to raise their children to be substance free.  In addition, leaders in the Ohio House, the Senate and the Attorney General’s Office joined together to create the Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education. This committee will look at the current status of drug prevention efforts in Ohio schools, allowing us to see how we can better prepare our students for a drug-free future.

Whether it is through education or prescription monitoring, we are taking action on the opioid abuse epidemic. Join me in changing the tide of addiction and working toward a brighter tomorrow in Ohio. Please reach out to my office to discuss this topic at or call us at (614) 644-6041.

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