The recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention study on drug overdose deaths in the United States highlighted the uphill fight that Ohio continues to wage against the epidemic.
The CDC reported that Ohio has the second-highest death rate from overdoses, behind only West Virginia.
It is commendable that Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Sen. Rob Portman are working together to find solutions to the problem. They are the state’s greatest hope in bringing in needed resources.
Just before Christmas, Congress passed Mr. Brown’s INTERDICT Act, which will provide for money to buy equipment to detect fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin, and opioids at entry points into the United States. President Trump should quickly sign the bill into law.
Mr. Brown’s legislation would work in tandem with Mr. Portman’s STOP Act, which requires closer scrutiny of packages arriving from overseas through the U.S. Postal Service, the main delivery method of fentanyl and carfentanil from unlicensed pharmacies in China. Mr. Portman’s effort has been enthusiastically endorsed by Mr. Brown. Despite bipartisan support, the STOP Act, for no good reason, continues to languish in committee, waiting for a vote.
Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Carfentanil is 10,000 times as strong. Drug dealers mix the drugs into their stashes of heroin to provide a kick and to make the supply last longer. The drugs, which can kill in small quantities, have sparked the surge of overdose deaths in Ohio, whose multiple interstates make the drugs a rich landing ground for traffickers.
The tide-turning solution for Ohio’s drug epidemic is going to result from pumping money into law enforcement and rehabilitation programs. But to slow the deaths, efforts need to focus on immediately choking off the fentanyl and carfentanil supply. Senators Brown and Portman have shown that they “get it” and are working diligently to save Ohio lives.
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