COLUMBUS—State Rep. Richard D. Brown (D-Canal Winchester) today again urged for the passage of House Bill (HB) 10 following a report from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office that showed a 14 percent increase in overdose deaths in Franklin County in 2019, in addition to seven deaths from drug overdoses that occurred in the county this past weekend over a 24 hour period.
“My condolences go out to all those affected by this crisis. Once again, the scourge of opioid addiction has taken so many lives in such a short period of time,” said Rep. Brown. “The latest data from Franklin County that indicated a 14 percent increase in deaths in 2019, and put us on pace for an even higher overdose death increase in 2020 tells us as policy makers that this public health crisis is far from over and we need to do more to combat it. This is especially true in light of the hardship caused for many by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will only exacerbate the ability to respond adequately to the addiction crisis.”
Brown is the sponsor of HB 10, which would create the Office of Drug Policy to bring a comprehensive, statewide approach to tackling the opioid crisis in Ohio. The priority bill was passed unanimously by the Ohio House Health Committee, the Ohio House Finance Committee, the Ohio House and the Senate Local Government Committee before stalling in the Senate Finance Committee. Brown is calling for its swift passage in light of this new data and the COVID-19 crisis.
“The Senate Finance Committee should pass HB 10 swiftly to allow the full Senate to vote to give the Governor the tools he needs to fight this addiction crisis while many of the state’s resources are focused on COVID-19,” said Rep. Brown. “The need for this bipartisan legislation is clear, and the ongoing inaction on the part of the Senate Finance Committee is frankly inexplicable given the data we are seeing and the unanimous bipartisan support for this bill prior to its arrival in that committee. People and families struggling during this crisis cannot wait, we need action now.”