“This will allow us to pursue these cases in basically any trial court in the state of Ohio,” Haslam said Thursday. “We can now look at a case and evaluate it either from a state perspective or a federal perspective, so we can choose which fits the case, to either take it in state court or federal court.”
Haslam said the job is just an additional position, and that he will continue primarily in the State AG’s office.
“When I hired Aaron Haslam, I wanted him to bring his knowledge and leadership as Adams County prosecutor to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, so that together we could combat the prescription drug abuse crisis,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “Since February, Aaron has done a great job working on criminal prescription drug cases in Ohio courts, and I know he will do the same when asked to assist in federal court cases.”
Haslam said this is a great commitment by DeWine, the Northern District Attorney Steve Dettelbach and Southern District U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart.
“It shows their commitment to this problem that they are willing to come together, collaborate, and reach a common goal on this prescription pill problem,” Haslam said.
The recent meeting in Portsmouth with White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske shows the federal government is aware of the prescription drug problem in southern Ohio, Haslam said.
“While no county in Ohio is immune to the prescription drug problem, southern Ohio is where the greatest attention has centered, specifically Scioto and Adams counties,” DeWine said.
“Being from Adams County, I know first-hand the stories of the victims who have lost family members to prescription drug abuse. It’s a humble reality in Ohio,” Haslam said. “I will continue working with local and state drug task forces, including those within Ohio’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission, special agents with the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as well as federal partners, to eliminate the prescription drug problem in our great state.”
Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner attended the swearing-in ceremony in Columbus.
“I think it is an historic moment in the history of the state,” Horner said. “I’m very pleased with the emphasis placed on prescription drug abuse. It is clear that the state Attorney General as well as the U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart are dedicating their full efforts to fighting the prescription drug problem right alongside of us.”
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or flewis@