Brown Applauds Opioid Commission Recommendations to Boost Customs’ Ability to Keep Fentanyl out of Ohio

Senator Wants Administration to Follow Today’s Report with Investment, Action on Treatment Beds

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded approval of a report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which made several recommendations Brown has called for repeatedly. Specifically, the Commission recommended that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) use additional technologies to detect and interdict fentanyl. This recommendation mirrors the goal of Brown’s legislation, the INTERDICT Act, which would provide CBP agents with screening devices to detect fentanyl at the borders before it can reach Ohio communities.

“Anything we can do to stop fentanyl at our borders will help keep it from reaching the Ohio communities where it is taking lives,” said Brown. “Better equipping these agents with detection devices is a commonsense step we can take right now to stem the flow of these drugs.”

Several state and national law enforcement organizations, including the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police and the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, have endorsed Brown’s bill. Brown’s INTERDICT ACT is also supported by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Brown is supporting Portman’s STOP Act, which is also endorsed by law enforcement, and was specifically endorsed in today’s report as approved by the Commission.

The report also called for increasing first responders’ access to naloxone and allowing more emergency responders who are qualified to administer the life-saving drug. Brown has called on the government to boost funding to help first responders maintain a supply of naloxone and supported CARA, which authorized funding for overdose reversal drugs. Brown also applauded recommendations calling for equal health coverage for mental health and addiction as physical health needs.

While Brown was pleased the Administration made these recommendations, Brown also called on the Administration to invest in the epidemic to support the people and programs on the frontline of the epidemic in Ohio. 

“This report cannot be the end of the Administration’s attention to this issue and I urge President Trump to use the declaration he made last week to put real money into this public health crisis. Ohio communities are desperate for funding to help them care for those battling addiction,” said Brown.

Brown would also like to see the President use his authority to expand the number of beds at substance abuse treatment facilities that can be covered under Medicaid. Current law limits use of Medicaid funding for residential mental health or substance abuse treatment to facilities with just 16 beds or less, which prevents many Ohioans from getting the help they need. Brown has legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to lift the cap so Ohioans can get care. The Commission’s interim report noted this is one of the quickest ways to get people into treatment.