CLEVELAND, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), author of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), and the MetroHealth System in Cleveland held a press conference to launch the MetroHealth Office of Opioid Safety. The launch of this Office comes as Cuyahoga County and the surrounding communities have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. In 2016, Cuyahoga, Summit, Lorain, Medina and Lake Counties each saw record numbers of opioid related deaths. That trend has continued in 2017: at least 248 in Cuyahoga County alone have died from these overdoses so far this year compared to 179 through the end of May 2016, according to the county coroner’s office.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act was signed into law last year to help address the drug epidemic in our country. Focusing on increasing access to treatment, expanding our prevention efforts, and providing for long-term recovery for the first time in any federal law, this new law is designed to help make the federal government a better partner with state and local officials by providing the resources necessary to address local needsPortman said. “The new Office of Opioid Safety at the MetroHealth in Cleveland is an example of CARA in action, providing resources to those on the front lines who are using a comprehensive approach to help save lives and turn the tide of addiction in their community. I was impressed by their leadership team I met with today and the resources they already have in place. I look forward to seeing their results, and hope they can become a model for the state and the country on how to combat the opioid crisis.”

Senator Portman has helped lead the national effort to combat this epidemic that is devastating communities across Ohio and our country. In fact, just last month, Portman’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing on stopping illicit drugs from being shipped into the United States. During the hearing, he urged Congress to act on his bipartisan legislation called the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders.

Following are photos of today’s event:

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