CINCINNATI, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) met with Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco to discuss the heroin and prescription drug crisis, and the latest in the opioid spike involving synthetic heroins like fentanyl and carfentanil in Cincinnati. Portman is the author of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law and is now being implemented, as well as the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, legislation designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs from reaching our communities. The visit follows a recent Cincinnati Enquirer story titled Digital drug dealing: Norwood couple accused in fentanyl case” that illustrated why the STOP Act is needed. Portman also recently wrote an op-ed for Cincinnati WCPO urging his colleagues to act on this much needed legislation.

Our entire state is in a crisis. Ohio’s rate of overdose deaths is nearly double the national average. And here in Hamilton County, it’s even worse. This heroin and prescription drug crisis is growing more deadly as synthetic drugs that are up to 50 times more powerful than heroin such as fentanyl and carfentanil get shipped in through the U.S. mail system from overseas countries like China. As I learned today in my meeting with Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Sammarco, traffickers are now lacing cocaine and other drugs with fentanyl to make it more addictive—and more deadly,” said Portman. “This epidemic knows no ZIP code. It affects all of us. That’s why I am urging Congress to act on my bipartisan STOP Act legislation to help keep these deadly drugs out of our communities. No more Ohioans should have to die before Congress takes action.”

Portman first introduced the STOP Act last year, coinciding with an announcement from Dr. Sammarco confirming that carfentanil was the source of overdoses in Cincinnati and the surrounding region. Portman has since met with local first responders in Cincinnati, Norwood and DC to discuss this increase of overdoses and has met with those in recovery at places like the Center for Chemical Addiction Treatment Center and the First Step Home in Cincinnati

Following are photos of today’s event:

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