What may turnout to be the top issue in the campaign to replace John Kasich as Governor of Ohio, Republican Mike Dewine and Democrat Richard Cordray are sparring over who is to blame for the Opioid Crisis as well as to how to fix it. In an usual twist, both candidates for Governor are or at one point were Ohio Attorney General. Dewine defeated Cordray in the 2010 Republican Sweep of statewide offices in Ohio. Both Dewine and Cordray don’t think the other has done or did enough to combat the Opioid Crisis. However, Dewine’s activity over the last eight years as Attorney General seem to give him a high public relations perspective on the issue that he was at least fighting to address the issue. Dewine’s efforts have included suing drug manufacturers and distributors for their part in the crisis but also working closely with local law enforcement on this issue.
Both Cordray and Dewine plan to address the Opioid Criss. Democrat Richard Cordray would: declare a state of emergency requiring the strategic coordination of federal, state, and local government resources and community-based efforts; protect the Medicaid expansion; restore funding to local governments for opioid prevention and treatment programs; and create additional support for families struggling with addiction and improve foster care and adoption services for kids whose families have been devastated by opioids.
Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine and Republican candidate for Governor announced a twelve point plan to address the Opioid Crisis that includes:
- Pass legislation to give the Governor the ability to declare a public health emergency statewide or in specific areas, which would allow for the distribution of money and other resources to local entities that are facing unexpected emergency conditions like overdose spikes, and creating an accelerated process for state licenses or approvals in critical professions such as the medical or social work fields as well as expedited licensing reciprocity with other states;
- Create a 21st century law enforcement data infrastructure that allows real-time, statewide data sharing and brings state-of-the-art data analytics and crime prediction to every Ohio law enforcement agency;
- Expand proven drug task force models that specifically target and disrupt the flow of money and drugs from Mexican drug cartels;
- Create at least 60 more specialized drug courts;
- Double the substance use treatment capacity in Ohio;
- Expand workforce of critical specialists;
- Empower employers to help employees with substance use disorder to seek treatment while remaining employed;
- Help business owners hire employees in recovery by offering employers incentives and reducing risks;
- Create a special position reporting directly to the Governor with Cabinet-level authority, who works every day with the single-minded focus of fighting the opioid epidemic;
- Implement proven Kindergarten-12th grade drug prevention education in all Ohio schools;
- Roll out a statewide drug prevention media campaign; and
- Expanded early intervention programs that target Ohio families and children in foster care.
No matter the winner, addressing the Opioid Crisis will continue to be a top priority for the state of Ohio.