Continuing His JOBS Act and Workforce Tour, Portman Discusses Drug Addiction and Workforce Issues with Board of Mental Health & Recovery for Licking-Knox Counties

Nearly $1.5 Million in Federal Funding Awarded to Knox County Organizations in Recent Years to Fight the Addiction Crisis

April 25, 2019 | Press Releases

COLUMBUS, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) continued his JOBS Act and Workforce tour by participating in a discussion with leadership from the board of Mental Health & Recovery for Licking-Knox Counties (MHR), first responders, local elected leaders, workforce leaders, and other regional stakeholders on the frontlines to combat the addiction crisis and help those battling addiction reenter the workforce.


The discussion highlighted the nearly $1.5 million in federal funding awarded to Knox County entities in recent years, including, $410,000 this year to MHR as part of the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding, $530,000 from 2017-2019 to MHR as part of MAT-PDOA through Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA), and $500,000 from 2015-2018 to the Knox County Health Department on behalf of the Knox Substance Abuse Action Team (KSAAT) from Portman’s Drug-Free Communities Act


“I had a productive meeting today with leadership from the MHR board, first responders, local elected leaders, workforce leaders, and other regional stakeholders on how the opioid epidemic is impacting communities in Knox County,” said Portman. The MHR Board is making terrific use of the grant money they have been awarded, and I know these additional resources will help save lives. I will continue to work with local communities across Ohio to help ensure they have the support and funding they need to continue their good work.” 


“Since receiving the newly released SORs dollars, we’ve already been able to help three people get into residential treatment and expect that number to continue to rise,” said Kay Spergel, MHR Executive Director. “The MAT-PDOA program has also seen its share of success having screened 64 patients to date through the Overdose Response Team.”


NOTE:  Ohio and our nation are seeing economic growth, new job creation, and rising wages for the first time in nearly a generation. However, employers are saying they can’t find workers with the skills to fill the available jobs.  Portman has taken the lead to address this skills gap by authoring the JOBS Act. In addition, his Second Chance Act is working to help people exiting the prison system rebuild their lives by getting the mental health treatment and skills training they need to reenter the workforce.  Finally, Portman has also led the effort to combat the drug crisis hitting our state, helping those battling addiction get the treatment needed to return to the workforce. 


Portman is the co-author of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) that became law in 2016 and provides resources for evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to help people overcome their addiction. The most recent bipartisan funding agreement actually funded these CARA programs at $647 million, much higher than the authorized amount.  Portman’s CARA 2.0 Act would increase these authorization levels further.  In addition, Portman worked to secure $1 billion in new funding for state grants to fight opioid abuse in the 21st Century CURES Act.  He’s also fought for more overall opioid funding, and helped secure approximately $3 billion in new opioid funding in the most recent bipartisan funding agreement. 


So far on his JOBS Act and Workforce Development Tour, Portman has visited Warren Fabricating and Machining in Trumbull County, Stark State’s Akron Campus in Summit County, Staub Manufacturing in Montgomery County, Rhinestahl Advanced Manufacturing in Warren County, and a DOJ Stakeholder Session on Reentry in Franklin County.


Photos from the event are below: