While at the conference, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske met with members of Scioto’s County’s Drug Action Team to share and gather information.
“We did not know this drug czar was going to be here, much less that he would request to have a special meeting with us,” said Lisa Roberts, a member of the Scioto County Prescription Drug Action Team. “He met with us immediately after he addressed the conference. He really wanted to get some information from us about what was going on in southern Ohio.
Roberts said Kerlikowske told them the White House was taking steps to increase federal assistance to southern Ohio.
In early June, Republican Sen. Rob Portman met with Kerlikowske.
“I talked to him about what I view as an epidemic in southern Ohio. This is a huge problem, if you look at what’s going on in Scioto and Adams County, the leading cause of death is not prescription drug overdose, traditionally it’s been automobile accidents,” Portman said after their meeting.
Roberts said they shared with Kerlikowske the history of Scioto County and how the area has been dealing with the drug problem for a number of years.
“We told him we have been successful in passing legislation in Ohio regulating pain clinics. The problem is that we’ve got Kentucky a few seconds across the bridge. He said there is an effort underway to link the prescription drug monitoring program between Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia,” Roberts said. “We talked further about leaving this issue up to individual states was not being very effective, Strategies need to be addressed federally.”
Roberts said Kerlikowske took some time asking the group for their ideas about the prescription drug issue.
Roberts said Kerlikowske promised further dialog.
WAYNE ALLEN may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.