Some Ohio Leaders Would Welcome Trump Talk on Drugs

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As President Trump heads to Ohio on Monday to make Cincinnati-area stops focusing on the new tax overhaul, some in a state with one of the nation’s highest overdose rates would rather hear more about his plans for the drug crisis, reports the Associated Press. In Newtown, outside Cincinnati, Police Chief Tom Synan found Trump’s comments on opioids in his State of the Union address “much of the same. There are very convincing words and there’s yet to be very convincing actions.” Synan, a member of the Cincinnati-based Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, wrote a column for the Cincinnati Enquirer calling for more urgency in the national response.

Trump’s declaration of a public health emergency in October, he wrote, hasn’t been backed by more federal funding. “We need that help to allow us get to the next level,” Synan told the AP. “There are so many more things that could be done, so many more people we could help.” The Ohio president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jay McDonald, attended the State of the Union as a guest of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “I think [Trump] hit the nail on the head about the scope of the problem,” said McDonald, of Marion in central Ohio. “I like the fact he said we need to be tough on traffickers and provide treatment to those addicted.” Hamilton County Heroin Coalition chairwoman Denise Driehaus, a Democratic county commissioner, would welcome a Trump visit to discuss what’s needed from the federal government for the opioid battle. She and Synan suggested federal, state and local authorities could coordinate for a “one-stop shop” to link drug users with treatment options, getting insurance, diversion programs and other needs. Ohio reported 4,050 overdose deaths in 2016, the second-highest overdose death rate after neighboring West Virginia.

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