(Portman Press) *On Thursday*, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) participated in an opioid roundtable discussion hosted by Hope Village Recovery Center with the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County. (MHRB). Following the roundtable, Portman toured the Recovery Center. As a result of Portman’s bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA), which provides additional resources for prevention, treatment and recovery programs that have proven to work, the MHRB of Portage County was awarded a $534,750 grant through the Ohio State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. These funds will be used over a three-year period to expand medication-assisted treatment access and retention through use of peer support specialists in outpatient and residential settings and to enhance the ability to provide integrated care.
“It was great meeting with Hope Village Recovery Center leadership, MHRB members, and community leaders today to discuss how the opioid epidemic is impacting the community of Rootstown,” said Portman. “ The Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County is making terrific use of the funding they received through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill I authored that became law in 2016. Their comprehensive approach to addressing addiction and its grip on our communities is exactly what is needed to help turn the tide of the opioid epidemic in Ohio. I’m working to do more at the federal level to help our communities combat this crisis. CARA 2.0 will expand CARA’s funding levels and allow organizations to be even more effective in combatting addiction. My STOP Act will help on the front end by keeping more synthetic drugs like fentanyl out of Ohio. This problem won’t be solved at the federal level, but I am working to help local groups like the ones I met with today have the support and funding they need to continue their good work.”
Portman has been a leader in the fight for more funding to combat this crisis. In addition to his work helping to secure $1 billion in new funding to fight opioid abuse in the CURES Act, he also worked to secure $181 million annually in discretionary spending for new programs through his bipartisan CARA, and approximately $3 billion in new opioid funding in the most recent bipartisan funding agreement.
Recently, Portman introduced the bipartisan CARA 2.0 Act. This bill will build on the success of CARA, provide additional resources to help turn the tide of addiction, and put in place policy reforms that will strengthen the federal government’s response to this crisis. Portman also recently introduced the bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which is designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States. The bill recently passed the House of Representatives and is expected to be considered by the Senate in the coming weeks.
A 23-year-old Portage County man is facing more than a dozen charges after sheriff's deputies identified him as a person of interest in a string of breaking and entering incidents.
Deputies said there were a number of reported incidents in Rootstown and Suffield and Randolph townships. Austin Nichols, 23, of Suffield Township, was identified as the person taking some of the stolen items and selling then to various pawn shops in Northeast Ohio. The incident began in June and increased in July and August, according to the Portage County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities think Nichols fled the area and is in Florida. Nichols has been charged with 15 counts of breaking and entering. Warrants for his arrest have been issued.