CLEVELAND, OH —Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson to tour the Medical Examiner’s office as they work to stem the tide of opioid-related deaths. According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, this year Cuyahoga County has experienced more than 550 deaths due to opioids.

Following the tour, Brown hosted a roundtable discussion with Dr. Gilson, County Executive Armond Budish, and representatives from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office and MetroHealth to discuss ongoing efforts to combat the addiction epidemic in Ohio and to highlight National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“The opioid addiction epidemic is one of the biggest public health emergencies in my lifetime -- and all too often addiction starts in the family medicine cabinet,” said Brown. “Unused prescription medicines – especially addictive opioid painkillers – must be disposed of in a safe, responsible way to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.”

Prescription Drug Take Back Day will take place Saturday, October 28th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. A full list of drug take back sites in Ohio can be found here.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in an effort to provide safe, convenient and responsible means for disposal of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for addiction.

Today, Brown joined colleagues in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting information on the impact of a drug enforcement law following a report from the Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” Brown is working with the agencies to ensure they have the tools they need to fight the epidemic.

Brown has also introduced the Opioid Quota Openness, Transparency, and Awareness Act (Opioid QuOTA Act) to shed light on annual quotas for prescription painkiller production and put a limit on the number of these potentially deadly painkillers that are produced every year.

In August, Brown applauded a proposal issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reduce the production of prescription opioids by 20 percent next year. The DEA is responsible for establishing annual quotas determining the exact amount of each opioid drug that is permitted to be produced in the U.S. each year. Brown asked the agency to take this step.

Last month, the House Homeland Security Committee passed Brown’s bipartisan legislationthe INTERDICT ACT, to help keep the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl out of Ohio communities and provide border agents and other law enforcement with better equipment to protect themselves from deadly opioids in the field.

Several state and national law enforcement organizations, including the Ohio FOP and the Buckeye Sheriff’s Association, have endorsed Brown’s bill. Brown’s bill 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. The two bills work together to help block the deadly synthetic opioid from reaching Ohio communities.

Brown has also applauded the formation of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and several of its recommendations, which echo his work to combat the opioid epidemic in the Senate.