The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018

Submitted information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging the agency to speed up the distribution of federal funding for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program, which provides funding to police departments to train first-responders as they deal with opioid related incidents. The program was created as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported.

By U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Brown

Brown’s letter follows an Ohio police officer’s accidental overdose after coming into contact with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl in the field.

“Keeping our police officers safe and unharmed is a top priority for Congress, as we know it is for the Department of Justice.  As threats to our officers’ safety evolve, so must our responsibility to guard against those threats.  Congress, through creating the COAG program, has recognized the necessity of providing funding to our local law enforcement teams who are confronting the opioid crisis.  We strongly urge your office to move as swiftly as possible in making sure that this funding gets to the communities that need it most in Ohio and across the country,” Brown wrote in the letter.

Earlier this month, Brown announced more than $160 million in federal resources to combat the opioid crisis in states like Ohio that have been hardest hit by the epidemic as part of the government funding package agreed to in April.

In April, Brown announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released $26 million in grant funding to Ohio to bolster efforts to combat the opioid epidemic after he joined Senate colleagues in a letter to President Trump calling for the release of critical resources that have been designated to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Brown urged Governor George “Sonny” Perdue, President Trump’s nominee to serve as the Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to continue USDA’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic in Ohio communities. USDA has helped in the fight against opioids through its Rural Development grant programs, like the Community Facilities Program — which helps rural communities expand local resources like medical facilities and public safety services. Brown also supported a strong Rural Development title in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide economic support to rural communities.

Brown also worked with Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) to introduce bipartisan legislation to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) keep the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl, out of the country. Brown’s bill, the  INTERDICT Act, would provide CBP with additional high-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S.

According to a report from the Ohio Department of Health, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio more than doubled from 503 in 2014 to 1,155 in 2015. Several state and national law enforcement organizations have endorsed Brown’s bill.

Last Congress, Brown introduced legislation that would address the opioid epidemic from prevention to recovery, filling in gaps that would help boost prevention, improve tools for crisis response for those who fall through the cracks, expand access to treatment, and provide support for lifelong recovery.

POSTED: 05/18/17 at 9:01 am. FILED UNDER: News