State Reps. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today both penned letters to Gov. Kasich renewing calls for him to declare a state of emergency to combat Ohio’s worst-in-the-nation opioid epidemic. While President Trump this week declared the opioid crisis an emergency on the national level, Gov. Kasich has repeatedly rebuffed Democratic calls to join six other states in declaring a statewide emergency. Ohio continues to lead the nation in opioid overdose deaths.


“The governor continues to wrongly claim that he can’t declare an emergency to free up desperately needed funds to combat this illness that is devastating our state—though we’ve seen him do it as recently as last year to pay for extra security at the Republican Convention in Cleveland,” said Rep. Sykes. “We need real leadership on this issue that’s crushing Ohio families and our state’s bottom line. Summit County has been taking the lead on this issue in Northeast Ohio, but we can’t do it alone. Only a bold, comprehensive statewide plan can get Ohio back on the path to health and prosperity.”


“Our opioid crisis is crushing our bottom line. What companies want to move into a community overrun with overdoses? How can our kids focus on schoolwork knowing there is trouble at home? The opioid epidemic has far-reaching consequences that will only begin to be alleviated when we make real investments in treatment and prevention,” Galonski wrote in her letter.


 


Read Rep. Galonski’s letters below:


Dear Governor Kasich,


 


Ohio continues to lead the nation in opioid overdose deaths without any signs of stopping. This crisis does not affect just one district—it affects us all. The investments we made in the state budget are only the first steps to address this growing epidemic. Those fighting on the front lines need our support, treatment centers need funding, first responders need training and kids in our schools need more education on the dangers of opioid abuse. That is why I am urging you to declare this crisis a statewide emergency and tap into the rainy day fund to address Ohio’s ongoing public health crisis.


 


Ohio’s rainy day fund currently sits at $2 billion dollars, a figure you say should be left to deal with a financial crisis. However, our communities are already in crisis. Families are struggling with addiction, children’s services are stretched thin and Ohio businesses are finding it harder to fill jobs. Our opioid crisis is crushing our bottom line. What companies want to move into a community overrun with overdoses? How can our kids focus on schoolwork knowing there is trouble at home? The opioid epidemic has far-reaching consequences that will only begin to be alleviated when we make real investments in treatment and prevention.


 


I urge you to use what power you have to give Ohioans the help and hope they need. It is the compassionate, prudent and right thing to do. I eagerly await your response.


 


Sincerely,


 


Tavia Galonski


State Representative


35th House District

 
 
 
  
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