COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTAP) - On Monday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a list of 12 new steps the state will take to fight the opioid crisis.
DeWine says, currently, an average of 14 Ohio residents die every day from drug overdoses.
DeWine's new plan is called "Recovery Ohio," and increases addiction treatment availability, provides new tools for law enforcement to fight drug abuse, and expands abuse prevention efforts.
Here are the detailed steps of the "Recovery Ohio" plan:
1: Pass legislation to give the Governor the ability to declare a public health emergency statewide or in specific areas, which would allow for the distribution of money and other resources to local entities that are facing unexpected emergency conditions like overdose spikes, and creating an accelerated process for state licenses or approvals in critical professions such as the medical or social work fields as well as expedited licensing reciprocity with other states.
2: Create a 21st century law enforcement data infrastructure that allows real-time, statewide data sharing and brings state-of-the-art data analytics and crime prediction to every Ohio law enforcement agency.
3: Expand proven drug task force models that specifically target and disrupt the flow of money and drugs from Mexican drug cartels.
4: Create at least 60 more specialized drug courts.
5: Double the substance use treatment capacity in Ohio.
6: Expand workforce of critical specialists.
7: Empower employers to help employees with substance use disorder to seek treatment while remaining employed.
8: Help business owners hire employees in recovery by offering employers incentives and reducing risks.
9: Create a special position reporting directly to the Governor with Cabinet-level authority, who works every day with the single-minded focus of fighting the opioid epidemic.
10: Implement proven Kindergarten-12th grade drug prevention education in all Ohio schools.
11: Roll out a statewide drug prevention media campaign
12: Expanded early intervention programs that target Ohio families and children in foster care.
DeWine also says the "Recovery Ohio" plan should be paid for by drug companies, since, he says, they are primarily responsible for the rise in drug abuse in Ohio.
On Monday, DeWine sent a letter to Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva, Johnson & Johnson, and Allergan - the companies he filed suit against in May - giving them 30 days to come forward and begin settlement solutions.
He also sent letters to Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen - drug distributors which, DeWine alleges, "flooded the state with pills that they knew far exceeded medical need" - asking them to pay "their fair share" to fight the drug overdose epidemic in Ohio.
DeWine says, "While there is no amount of money that can bring back the thousands of our fellow Ohioans who have died or take away the pain of their families, these drug companies must be held accountable."