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Ohio Sen. Rob Portman Says the State's Heroin Problem May Still Get Worse

photo of Sen. Rob Portman

Akron’s rash of heroin overdoses this month now numbers more than 100 people -- including 12 deaths – and Sen. Rob Portman was here Friday saying his newly-passed addiction and recovery act will help with the problem.

The recent spike in overdoses has been largely attributed to heroin which was cut with a power animal sedative.

At the Oriana House treatment center in North Hill, the Republican Senator met with those working to fight addiction in Summit County.  He says that older legislation which addressed certain synthetic drugs -- such as bath salts – may now need to be revisited.

“Then some chemists -- with evil intent -- change the molecular structure a little bit and suddenly it’s not illegal.  So we gotta figure that out now.  My own sense of it is -- I just talked to one of the doctors about this -- you probably just need to give the FDA the authority, within a small group of people, who can move very quickly to be able to react to ensure that it’s not legal.”

Earlier this month, both the House and Senate passed Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act.  If signed into law, it would increase funding and treatment options for opioid abuse, as well as expanding the use of overdose-fighting drugs by law enforcement.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.