U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Senate colleagues in a letter to the European Commission this week, urging their support for increased international oversight of chemicals used to manufacture the synthetic opioid fentanyl, a drug that has caused a considerable amount of overdoses and overdose deaths in Scioto County.
According to a report from the Ohio Department of Health, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio more than doubled.
“Ohioans have seen the devastating effects of fentanyl in their communities firsthand,” Brown said. “Stemming the tide of the opioid epidemic in Ohio will require the cooperation of local, federal, and international partners. By securing the European community’s support, we can strengthen our efforts to crack down on international trafficking that helps fuel the opioid crisis in Ohio.”
Arguably the closest person to the fight against illicit drug activity in Scioto County is Lisa Roberts RN, of the Portsmouth City Health Department and the Daily Times asked her on Wednesday about the issue.
“I was in Washington DC earlier this month and attended a meeting with the Drug Enforcement Administration on fentanyl and these analog drugs coming from China. They showed a map depicting the spread of these labs across China. The DEA Director was actually in China at that time and returned with a commitment from China officials to ban chemical production of these deadly compounds,” Roberts told the Times. “But the illegal drug trade is very adaptable, and once there is a crackdown it just shifts and adapts. So these Senators are smart to seek policies in other countries lest the market just relocate to some other country.”
In March, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will meet to discuss how best to address international trafficking and manufacturing of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The U.S. is requesting that the chemicals used to manufacture fentanyl be classified as Table I substances, which opens them up to increased oversight. The senators wrote to the European Commission seeking their support, as the European Union constitutes the largest voting bloc of the CND.
During the last session of the U.S. Legislature, Brown introduced legislation that would help address the opioid epidemic from prevention to recovery, filling in gaps that would help: boost prevention, improve tools for crisis response for those who fall through the cracks, expand access to treatment, and provide support for lifelong recovery. He also supported the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), authored by U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-370-0711