U.S. Senator Rob Portman says he wants to help individuals and organizations fight the heroin crisis in Union County.
Portman’s staff will hold a grant-funding workshop from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County, 131 N. Main St., Suite B, in Marysville.
“We want to help people identify and get access to some of the federal dollars coming online to fight the opioid crisis,” said Stephen White, Portman’s district representative.
White said the program is intended for individuals, involved organizations and government agencies dealing with heroin problems.
“This is basically for anyone in the community interested in learning more about the federal resources available to help fight the opioid epidemic,” he said.
He added, “What we are going to share with the audience is information about legislation, about grant programs, about resources and how you can get access to them.”
During the meeting, constituents will have the opportunity to share thoughts and concerns about the local impact of the opioid epidemic. White, who will be conducting the meeting, said he will convey the concerns to Portman.
White said during the workshop, he will provide an overview of legislative efforts to address the problem and help local communities secure additional resources. The representative said Portman has been a “leader in the fight for more funding to combat this crisis.” He said Portman worked to secure $1 billion in new funding for state grants to fight opioid abuse.
“Senator Portman believes the federal government has a role to play in fighting this epidemic,” White said. “Senator Portman believes the work will be done at the local level, but the federal government can provide resources to the local level to do that work, fight this epidemic and save lives.”
He said Portman has also worked to allocate $181 million annually in discretionary spending for new programs through a recently signed law.
White said that law, the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA), helps address addiction at every stage. He said as the author of the CARA legislation, Portman has “helped lead the national effort to combat this epidemic that is devastating communities across Ohio and our country.”
“The legislation ensures that federal resources are focused on evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs that have proven effective in local communities so that it can make a difference in people’s lives,” according to information from Portman spokesman Emmalee Kalmbach.
She said the staff has conducted more than five dozen of the meetings around the state.
Even so, White said, each meeting is different.
“The goal here is to have some unique takeaway action items for each county,” White said.
Officials said appointments are not necessary, but registration is encouraged to reserve a seat.
Those wanting to register are asked to e-mail Dhruv_Shah@portman.senate.gov.
Those seeking more information about the program or the legislation and resources discussed are encouraged to call White at (614) 469-6774.
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