U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio is excited about the new report from the U.S. Surgeon General on addiciton that was released on Thursday.
In the report, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy designated addiciton as a disease.
Watch the full comments from Senator Rob Portman below:
Ask family and friends of the those who have a loved one struggling with addiction and you'll find that the issue impacts them too.
Tonda DeRae of Carrollton is the founder of Holly's Song of Hope, an organization, named after her daughter who passed away from a heroin overdose three years ago, aimed at helping families in need of support.
"When I lost Holly, there really wasn't anything out there for me," said DeRae. "That's that made me go after that first.
"They're like 'Look, my parents tried this and it didn't work at all' or 'they tried that and that really sunk in,'" said DeRae. "So it really helps. It's a real good balance of peer to peer support."DeRae launched an online support group where family and friends can reach out for help, ask questions and hear directly from those in recovery.
More than 1,400 people have joined the online support group on Facebook.
DeRae has worked with Senator Rob Portman to raise awareness on the need for help in Ohio and across the country when it comes to resources for those struggling with a heroin addiction. She's been an outspoken supporter of Portman's Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), designed to pay for education, treatment and recovery programs to prevent drug abuse.
After three years of working with law enforcement, drug experts, and families impacted by drug use, Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman's Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act has been signed into law by President Obama.
CARA, designed to pay for education, treatment and recovery programs to prevent drug abuse, passed the Senate by a 92-2 vote following a 407-5 vote in the House.
"This is a historic moment in the fight against addiction", Senator Portman said in a press release. "It's a moment when we came together as a country - Democrats and Republicans alike - behind a common sense idea: finally treating addiction like the disease that it is. And with the epidemic of opiate addiction taking an American's life every 12 minutes, this may be the most urgent issue that we face".
President Obama signed the bill Friday, which authorizes $181 million in new spending.
The outbreak of heroin continues to spread, and it is happening in our own backyard. In the Akron area, there were 15 reported overdoses on heroin in a ten-hour span. Senator Rob Portman joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act. Portman has been passionate about this issue, and has been looking to get it passed with a bipartisan effort. The Ohio senator wants to educate people, both addicts and non-users, about the dangers of opiates, as heroin overdoses have become the number-one accidental death in the state of Ohio, losing five or six people a day on average. Portman warns of the dangers of pill overdose, as four out of five heroin addicts were exposed to the opiates from prescription medication. In Ohio, according to Portman, there have been about as many heroin overdoses already in 2016 than there were in all of 2015.
Political leaders of all stripes were saddened to learn of the death of longtime Mayor, Governor and U.S. Senator George Voinovich, who passed away in his sleep last night. Voinovich was 79. He retired from the U.S. Senate following the end of his term in 2010, but remained active in political circles and was a strong advocate for policies effecting fiscal responsibility and foreign policy directed at the Balkan states, reflecting his cherished Slovenian heritage and even served as a speaker at an event marking the 25th anniversary of Slovenia independence at Cleveland City Hall.
At a news conference on his retirement, and in his final remarks on the Senate floor, Voinovich continued to implore both sides of the political aisle to come together on agreement of issues most important to the responsible running of the country. He maintained his strong spiritual faith throughout his career, and made no bones about his feelings that God, family and public service were his highest priorities. (Video from C-SPAN)
Reaction was swift on news of Voinovich's death.
Governor John R. Kasich released the following statement on the passing of former Ohio senator, governor and Cleveland mayor George V. Voinovich:
"I am very saddened today by the passing of my friend George Voinovich. I respected him greatly and had a deep affection for him. His love for our state and his hometown of Cleveland was only surpassed by his love for his family and his wife Janet. He was guided by two ideas: love God and love your neighbor, and by faithfully applying them throughout his life he helped Ohioans see how much they could accomplish by working together.
"He was a unifier who thought outside the box, never gave up and worked hard for the ideas he believed in up until the very end of his life. Thanks to that leadership he saved Cleveland, governed Ohio compassionately and responsibly and was a candid voice for reason in the U.S. Senate. I am proud to have known him and grateful for what he did for our state and nation.
"To his wife Janet, his children and his many grandchildren, my family sends our condolences and heartfelt prayers at this difficult time, and on behalf of Ohio I send my gratitude for sharing this wonderful, dynamic man with us for so many years."
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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on the death today of former U.S. Senator and Governor George V. Voinovich.
"Fran and I are heartbroken by the news of George's death. Our hearts go out to his beloved wife Janet, their children, and their grandchildren.
"George Voinovich was a good person -- a good man. He was a man of deep religious faith, and it was that faith that guided him in his decisions. He truly lived his belief that with God, all things are possible.
"He believed that his calling was to serve others -- his city, community, and country -- through his work in government. He also believed that everyone had God-given gifts, and that we all need to use our gifts to help others. He often talked about his mother, Josephine, who volunteered at the library at St. Aloysius well into her 80s to serve the children there.
"George was a mentor to me, but he was also my friend. I was honored to serve as his Lieutenant Governor and had the great opportunity to watch him lead and see first-hand his management skills.
"He was a tireless worker. George took home work every night and on the weekends. His administrative style and philosophy were to hire good people, hold them accountable, but let them run their departments.
"George was the long-time mayor of Cleveland -- a city kid, but he loved the Ohio State Fair! He loved being with the 4-H kids, working the bidders at the Sale of Champions, staying overnight with a farm family, and being a part of Ohio's great agriculture community. After he left the Governor's Office, he would continue to come to the Ohio State Fair with grandkids every summer. He was so proud of the Voinovich Livestock and Trade Center on the Fairgrounds.
"George took great pride in sharing Ohio's unique places with others. He had a passion for promoting Ohio tourism -- from the banks of the Ohio River to the shores of Lake Erie. He loved our state.
"George and Janet had a true partnership. They were best friends, and she was everything to him. He would often say that Janet was God's greatest gift to him.
"He loved his family fiercely and nothing mattered to him more -- nothing. He would get so excited talking about his grandkids, especially.
"Ohio lost a true leader, visionary, and statesman today."
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U.S. Senator Rob Portman issued the following statement today on the passing of George Voinovich:
"Jane and I are deeply saddened by this news. All Ohioans have suffered a great loss today.
"As Mayor, as Governor, and as Senator, George Voinovich exemplified everything good about public service. It was never about him, but always about helping others. He was an independent voice who never hesitated to speak his mind.
"The City of Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the nation benefited from his extraordinary service, but he had a special place in his heart for his beloved Cleveland. It is not an exaggeration to say he personally saved the city from default and revived the spirit of Cleveland through sheer force of will, an unyielding work ethic and an infectious optimism. There are so many signs of his contributions to Cleveland and the state of Ohio, from the Voinovich innerbelt bridge to the Voinovich Bicentennial Park to the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, to community treasures like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that would not be here but for his leadership. These are all a testament to the love and respect that the people of Ohio had for him. But as in all of his public service roles, his intangible contribution was to lift peoples' hopes.
"In our conversations, for all of his political successes and accomplishments, what George Voinovich most wanted to talk about was family. Janet was his soulmate and partner in everything, and he loved his kids and grandkids and always wanted to know about my family. He knew family and faith were the anchors for everything else in life.
"I will miss a great friend and a true mentor, and our community will mourn the loss of a dedicated public servant without equal."
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Congressman Tim Ryan made the following statement regarding the passing of former Ohio Governor and Senator George Voinovich:
"I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of George Voinovich. Former Governor and Senator Voinovich served our state with great distinction all his life. He was a consummate professional who always conducted himself with class and independent leadership. He will be missed."
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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today released the following statement on the death of former United States Senator and Ohio Governor George Voinovich:
"For over four decades, George Voinovich faithfully served the people of Ohio from Cleveland's City Hall, to the steps of the Statehouse and on our behalf in the U.S. Capitol.
"So often, he spoke of his work in terms of the impact it may have on our children and the future they would one day inherit. It was that vision that guided his work and that example we all seek to carry out even today.
"He was known for never taking advantage of his office, but instead, was frugal with the public's resources as if they were his own. He stood on principle, even when that stand risked his own popularity. In this way, he was a great man of principle and a true public servant. His death is Ohio's loss.
"The thoughts and prayers of a grateful state are with his family today."
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The Ohio Democratic Party released the following statement from Chairman David Pepper on the passing of former Cleveland Mayor, Ohio Gov. and U.S. Sen. George Voinovich:
"Today we mourn the passing of an Ohio giant, George Voinovich, a man who dedicated more than half of his life in service to the people of the Buckeye State. When I was a local elected official, I had the privilege of escorting then-Senator Voinovich on a tour of Cincinnati, and it was clear he was still a mayor at heart. He didn't miss a detail, and that's what a great public servant does -- focuses on the details and brings people together to find solutions. Our thoughts and prayers are with George's wife, Janet, his beloved children and grandchildren and our colleagues at the Ohio Republican Party, as we grieve the loss of a great Ohioan."
Ohio Senator Rob Portman offered his support for Republican mayoral candidate Eddie Sipplen during his visit to Akron on Saturday.
"I was excited when Eddie agreed to step up and run," Portman said at Sipplen's campaign headquarters on W.Exchange Street.. "I think Akron needs Eddie Sipplen." Senator Portman, as part of his first Super Saturday grassroots campaign event traveled across nearly all of Ohio, in an effort to reach 25,000 voters in one day.
He also gave his thoughts on why he thinks Eddie Sipplen would be the best leader for the city.
"He's a guy with his MBA, his legal degree; he's got great qualifications," Portman said. "He knows how to work across the aisle and work with everybody and that will be great for Akron." With the election less than a couple of weeks away, the two candidates, Sipplen and Dan Horrigan, are ramping up their efforts to convince voters to punch their ticket as the next mayor of the Rubber City. Portman's team assisted Sipplen's campaign Saturday in reaching more than 1,500 voters by going door-to-door and asking for their vote.
Sipplen says his focus is on the people of Akron. "We [he and Portman] talked about the financial aspects of the campaign and he was like look; it's not about the money in the campaign its about what you are going to do for the people. Stay focused on that." Sipplen says his campaign has always been one that wants to talk to voters directly and that involves getting out into the neighborhoods. He says that's what he's always done and it won't change, as the November election approaches. "I'm not taking it for granted," Sipplen said. "I'm knocking on the doors. Every volunteer that's out there knocking on the doors. I'm out knocking with them so they know that I walk the talk."
WAKR contacted Horrigan for comment on this story, but he was unavailable.
The general election to choose the next mayor will be on Tuesday, November 3rd.