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TOLEDO, OH – In Toledo today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Ohio law enforcement and an addiction treatment provider after securing major funding to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

“For too long, Ohio communities have been desperate for the federal government to step up and provide the necessary resources to effectively combat the opioid epidemic,” said Brown. “While we know there is more work to be done, this funding is a meaningful step forward for Ohio. By investing in local communities and supporting law enforcement through the INTERDICT Act, we can better address the opioid crisis in our state.” 

“At Zepf, we are on the front lines battling the opioid and fentanyl epidemic on a daily basis. We see the real life first hand effects on individuals, their children and their families...and it’s devastating,” said Deb Flores, acting CEO of the Zepf Center.

Brown ensured the spending bill signed into law last week included measures to address the opioid crisis in Ohio, including:

  • Ensuring Ohio will be among the first in line to receive opioid funding. At Brown’s urging, the package specifically prioritizes the hardest-hit states, like Ohio.
  • The package also includes more than $65 million to fund opioid detection devices and equipment called for in Brown’s INTERDICT Act, which President Trump signed into law earlier this year.

Brown was joined at the news conference by Toledo Police Chief George Kral, Cleveland Area Port Director of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Marc Hurteau, and Deb Flores, Acting CEO of the Zepf Center. 

Opioid Funding

Brown originally announced $6 billion in opioid funding as part of the long-term spending agreement Congress reached earlier this year. The spending package Congress passed last week allocated the first $3 billion of that money. At Brown’s urging, the package specifically prioritizes the hardest-hit states, like Ohio.

How does it work?

  • State Targeted Response (STR) Grants account for $1 billion of the $3 billion allocated in the spending package announced today.
  • 15 percent of that grant funding will be specifically reserved for states like Ohio that have been hardest hit. Ohio can also qualify for money from the additional 85 percent.
  • In March, Brown wrote to key members of appropriation committees requesting increased investment in programs like STR that prioritize Ohio.

The omnibus funding is in addition to the $27 million in grant funding Ohio is expected to receive this year from the 21st Century Cures Act, which Brown supported.

INTERDICT

The spending package also authorizes funding for opioid detection devices outlined in Brown’s INTERDICT Act, which President Trump signed into law this year, to provide new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for 24x7 lab support. The money will be used to:

  • Provide more portable chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) laboratories.
  • Provide CBP with more resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field. 

Several state and national law enforcement organizations, including the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, have endorsed the INTERDICT Act. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) also supported Brown’s bill and Brown is supporting Portman’s STOP Act, which is also endorsed by law enforcement. The two bills work together to help block the deadly drugs from reaching Ohio communities.

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