By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Democratic nominee for governor said Monday that Ohio deadly opioid crisis impacts people throughout the state.
“Everybody’s been touched by this,” Richard Cordray said. “It’s ravaged our families, it’s ravaged our communities; Ohio’s one of the worst states in the nation for this crisis.”
He said the drug issue’s effects show up on jobs, families and schools. Cordray focused on opioids and other health issues such as infant mortality in discussions with local authorities and health officials and advocates at Springfield Regional Hospital in western Ohio and the Cincinnati firefighters’ union hall.
The Hamilton County coroner in Cincinnati has said overdose deaths in the county jumped by 31 percent in 2017, to 529 deaths. Ohio has been among states with the highest overdose death rates.
Cordray faults Republicans, including GOP gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Mike DeWine, for not doing enough as overdose death rates climbed in the state. Cordray, who served as Barack Obama’s federal consumer protection chief, has been emphasizing differences on issues as he takes on one of the state’s best-known politicians. DeWine defeated Cordray for attorney general in 2010, and Republicans have dominated statewide races in recent years including Donald Trump’s decisive 2016 Ohio presidential race victory.
Cordray says he’d treat the opioid issue as a state of emergency and pull together federal, state and local resources with community-based efforts, while protecting Medicaid expansion and increasing funding of treatment and services.
DeWine has said fighting the opioid crisis will be a top priority if he’s elected governor, and he plans to create a cabinet-level position to coordinate the anti-opioid effort, expand drug courts, treatment and drug prevention education.
His campaign says he worked aggressively to close “pill mills” in southern Ohio and arrest drug traffickers. Ohio also is among the states that have sued drugmakers.
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