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Government & Politics

Some Ohio Republicans Support Democratic Efforts to Use Surplus Funds of Opioid Epidemic

photo of Heroin
Creative Commons/Flickr

A prominent Republican Northeast Ohio state representative has joined a Democratic effort to push Gov. John Kasich to declare a statewide opioid emergency.

Ron Amstutz of Wooster and two other Republican lawmakers have signed on to House Resolution 510. It would allow use of the state’s rainy-day fund to pay for opioid intervention programs. Amstutz was not available for comment.

But the measure’s co-sponsor, Rep, Greta Johnson of Akron, says it’s very important to have the support of Amstutz, "who serves now as the Speaker Pro Tempore. For lack of a better term he’s like the vice president for the caucus for the Republicans.

"So, I’m very hopeful that it indicates that the GOP is willing to make the ask with us. Not just row in the same direction but for everybody to get into the same boat.”

Kasich’s office says under the state constitution, the governor cannot issue a public health emergency for the opioid epidemic. And it points out that the state has allocated $1 billion this year alone for drug interdiction efforts.