State officials ask area leaders for advice in fighting opioid crisis

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State officials ask area leaders for advice in fighting opioid crisis

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State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, speaks at a meeting of the Ohio House Speaker’s task force on heroin, opioids, prevention, education and safety at Wright State on Monday. Sprague chairs the committee.

The Ohio House Speaker’s task force on heroin, opioids, prevention, education and safety heard from Dayton area leaders and experts on Monday at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.

The task force wanted to host a meeting at the university because Dayton is sort of “the epicenter” of the opioid epidemic in Ohio, said State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay. Sprague, who is running for the Republican nomination for State Treasurer, serves as chairman of the committee which sought advice and ideas from the area.

The “over-prescribing” of opioids needs to be addressed, Sprague said, otherwise “we’re not going to be able to fix this epidemic.” Sprague has sponsored several bills in the Ohio House to fight the opioid epidemic.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer attended the meeting and said that more resources would make a big difference in the fight against opioids. Without necessary resources, Plummer said “we’re missing critical pieces to this puzzle.”

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., agreed and said he thinks more needs to be done to help law enforcement fight the epidemic. He also said that everyone needs to work together to find the best solutions.

“I think we need to give local law enforcement offices the resources to get these drugs off the street,” Antani said.

Dayton has received national attention for its drug overdose deaths. Like Sprague, national media outlets have referred to Dayton as the “epicenter” or “ground zero” of the nation’s ongoing heroin and opioid crisis.

Just last year, Ohio was considered the top state or opioid overdose deaths, this news organization reported.

Wright State, along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency also hosted a summit on Monday at the Nutter Center to spotlight the dangers of opioids.

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