August 24, 2012
Cincinnati, OH – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today congratulated the Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance for being awarded $125,000 in highly competitive matching grant funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), enabling them to expand their successful efforts to reduce local substance abuse through education and prevention.
“Scioto County has been hard hit in recent years by prescription and other drug abuse. But since 2010, the hard work of the Drug Action Team, led by Lisa Roberts, has begun to turns things around. This coalition of family members, community leaders and law enforcement played a major role in the reduction of accidental overdoses in the county by 17 percent and drug-related deaths by 42 percent from 2010 to 2011. This Drug Free Communities matching grant will enable them to expand and strengthen their effective and much-needed work,” Portman said.
Portman and his staff worked closely with the Drug Action Team on the grant application, and Portman himself spoke to ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske.
Portman was an author of the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997, as well as three other anti-drug laws, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Second District of Ohio. Over the course of its existence, Drug Free Communities has provided essential support to hundreds of community anti-drug coalitions across the nation. In 1996, Portman founded the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati, a 10-county education and prevention anti-drug coalition spanning southwest Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, chairing it for its first nine years. Since the Coalition was formed, drug abuse by Cincinnati-area youth has declined by approximately 30 percent.
Since he was sworn into the Senate in 2011, Portman has been fighting the drug problem in southern Ohio on multiple fronts. In July 2011, Director Kerlikowske came to Scioto County seat Portsmouth for a town hall on the prescription drug epidemic. Portman requested that he grant High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) designations for Scioto and Adams Counties. The designations came through in October 2011, giving local officials federal resources and coordination to fight what is an interstate problem affecting Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Also in that July 2011 town hall, local law enforcement told Portman they could better monitor abuse if they were able to access the information in prescription drug monitoring programs in neighboring states. Portman went back to his desk and developed legislation to enable states to share information while protecting their existing costly investments and their own protected health information standards. Originally introduced in March 2012 as S.2254, the Interstate Drug Monitoring Efficiency and Data Sharing Act of 2012 (ID MEDS), Portman’s proposal was adapted into an amendment to the FDA bill and was signed into law in July 2012.