JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — A local legislator will be serving on a new House committee created with the opioid crisis in mind.
State Representative Ron Ferguson, R-Wintersville, will be serving on three House committees, and he is taking on a leadership role in one of them.
Ferguson will serve as the vice chairman of the Ohio House's Financial Institutions Committee.
He will also serve as a member of the Economic and Workforce Development Committee, and the newly formed Behavioral Health and Recovery Supports Committee.
State Representative Ron Ferguson, R-Wintersville, will be serving on three House committees.
What does he want to accomplish on the new committee?
“I would say as with anything in this position, we should be looking to the experts in the community and see what things we might possibly be lacking, but for a long time we've understood the way to addressing addiction is a lot different than what was once thought," Ferguson said.
He says it’s still early.
“I haven't heard a ton yet, we are just starting to have those conversations,” he said. “Obviously they're a little bit different conversations I'm having now as a legislator than previous.”
Bill Holt, the executive director of the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board, shared his thoughts.
“Our hope, and from what I'm hearing from around the state, is that the legislature continues to recognize the need for local oversight of behavioral health services so that we can really work quickly to address emergent concerns on a local level,” Holt said.
Holt went on to say he hopes the committee recognizes significant struggles throughout Ohio with behavioral health, and issues related to COVID-19, such as suicide and the health and well-being of young people.
He also emphasized help is always available.
House committees are live-streamed on ohiochannel.org.