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Turner, Plummer want local ‘drug czar’ for opioid crisis response

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer on Monday called for a “drug czar” to be named from the area business community to assess issues surrounding the opioid crisis and coordinate efforts focused in Montgomery and Greene counties to combat the epidemic.

“Although we are doing some things well, we’re not doing it in any coordinated fashion,” said Turner.

The two spoke following a roundtable with area public health officials, treatment professionals, law enforcement and court officials at Turner’s downtown Dayton office.

MORE: 6 newborns a day hospitalized in Ohio for exposure to drugs in womb

“I think what we have is a consensus that we’re not achieving what we need to,” Turner said.

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Last year, 349 people died of drug overdoses in Montgomery County; 44 died in Greene County.

“I think we are coming to a consensus that as a community, although we are doing some things well, we’re not doing it in any coordinated fashion,” Turner said.

MORE: 2 days without overdoses in Dayton: ‘So far it’s a good week’

Plummer said despite more taxpayer money put toward fighting the epidemic, the depth of the crisis appears to be deepening.

“We need one person who can grab the bull by the horns and dictate to all these social services, these treatment centers, which direction we’re headed,” Plummer said.

MORE: Are the drugs we’re taking — and flushing down the toilet — hurting our water?

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