PDT staff Writer
The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two pieces of legislation sponsored by State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott). House Bill 170, Johnson’s bill to expand access to naloxone, passed the House unanimously.
“I am proud to have the direct drug deaths down to 15 in my home county, but I am not satisfied,” Johnson said on the House Floor. “This bill is the next step in our collective mission to get that number down to zero, not just in my district but statewide. While there is no magic bullet in fighting the drug problem, this bill is another arrow in our quiver and another tool in our box as we continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to defeat the opiate epidemic that has devastated our communities.”
Johnson gained statewide recognition when he arrived in Columbus and immediately crafted a bill that would regulate pain clinics to the point that few, if any, could remain in operation. All nine pain clinics located in Scioto County closed, mainly as a result of House Bill 93, and teamwork by law enforcement and citizens who banded together to fight the facilities they dubbed “pill mills.”
House Bill 170 expands access to naloxone, a drug that instantly reverses the effects of a drug overdose. It allows for EMT-Basics, first responders, law enforcement, and family and friends of those at risk of overdosing to have and administer the naloxone to someone in need while providing criminal and civil immunity.
“Naloxone has been used safely in emergency rooms for years,” Johnson said. “House Bill 93 did a great job of shutting down the pill mills, but with so many people still addicted and using heroin, we still need to treat the addicted population. For those who relapse and overdose, naloxone provides a second chance so they have another opportunity to overcome their addiction. This bill allows more people to use Naloxone, and it will save lives.”
The House also passed House Concurrent Resolution 27, also sponsored by Johnson. The resolution urges the IRS to immediately correct its policies of targeting groups seeking tax exempt status based on their presumed political affiliation.
“To hold such sweeping powers over American citizens, an agency or department of the United States government must be of the highest fidelity and integrity,” Johnson said. “It must hold the respect and the trust of the people that it serves. It must be beyond reproach. And we, the American people, must not only believe this—we must know it.”
The resolution was introduced following the scandal in which the Internal Revenue Service allegedly targeted groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement who were seeking tax exempt status. The House Policy and Legislative Oversight committee which recently voted in favor of the resolution, held a hearing in Cincinnati where those affected by the IRS targeting were able to share their story.
House Concurrent Resolution 27 was adopted by a vote of 73-18, and both pieces of legislation will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.