Cities throughout Ohio — including Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus – have experienced spikes in suspected overdose deaths recently with law enforcement officials placing the blame on illicit fentanyl.

With that in the background, two big-name Ohio officials have announced separate measures they believe can help combat the ongoing opioid epidemic on two widely different fronts.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D – OH) is pushing for congressional action on his proposed Fentanyl Sanctions Act.

Advertised as bipartisan legislation, the act is intended to give U.S. officials new sanction tools to target opioid traffickers in China, Mexico and other countries, as well as better enable American diplomats and law enforcement officials to maintain pressure on the Chinese government to implement and strictly enforce its own commitment to treat all forms of illicit fentanyl as illegal.

At the same time, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced the state will invest $11 million over the next two years to help employers and unemployed workers across the state overcome issues related to the opioid epidemic.

The resources will come from a grant of the U.S. Department of Labor and meant to help support employers who hire individuals in recovery as well as provide job training and other services to help unemployed workers recover from substance abuse disorders and find employment.

“This federal grant is an example of what RecoveryOhio is all about. We collaborate to address the unique needs of residents,” said DeWine. “Recovery involves not just treatment, but ongoing supports to help individuals lead healthy, productive lives.”

“On average, 14 Ohioans will die every day due to an opioid overdose,” Brown noted, while touting his sanctions initiative. “The addiction crisis has taken too many lives and caused too much devastation in Ohio. This new bill will add effective new sanctions tools to help combat the flood of illicit fentanyl coming in primarily from China and from Mexico and help provide intelligence and funding to keep these dangerous drugs out of Ohio communities.”

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