Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer wrote today to Dayton leaders asking for a recommendation in identifying possible candidates for a Dayton Region Drug Czar.

The letter was addressed to Phil Parker, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. Congressman Turner and Sheriff Plummer write in part:

“The opioid epidemic continues to ravage our community with an estimated 800 deaths to occur in Montgomery County alone this year. Local governments, law enforcement agencies, and various organizations have stepped up and focused their individual efforts and services on trying to combat this crisis. Our objective in undertaking this endeavor is to identify someone who can provide the organizational skills and expertise to transform our community response into a collaborative, region-wide, network of addiction services.”

“The community is using all resources available to fight this epidemic,” said Congressman Turner. “Still, clearly, what we’ve done has not been enough. Our community has been, up until now, working as many individual efforts without effective communication. The Dayton region needs a drug czar to help us work together and execute a well-organized, coordinated, and planned attack against this epidemic.”

“Over the past year to eighteen months we’ve come to really understand that our largely punitive responses to people with substance abuse and mental health disorders is ineffective and costly,” said Sheriff Plummer. “We need a coordinated effort from all service providers in our community to be focused on increasing prevention, treatment, and supporting people in recovery. Our system of care for those with addiction and mental health disorders is inconsistent and lacks a continuum of care that is consistent well-coordinated planned approach to this epidemic.”

Congressman Turner has been fighting the opioid epidemic in Dayton since 2013:

  • December 18, 2013: Toured Soin Medical Center, where issue of Heroin-Exposed Newborns was raised.
  • March 10, 2014: Met with area hospitals to discuss the growing issue of Heroin-Exposed Newborns.
  • May 15, 2014: Visited Dayton Children’s Hospital NICU to discuss infant heroin exposure and the withdrawal and recovery process.
  • June 30, 2014: Held a Community Forum on the Effects of the Heroin Epidemic on Newborns.
  • August 27, 2014: Visited the Women’s Recovery Center.
  • May 2015: Held Community Summit on Heroin-Exposed Infants.
  • August 21, 2015: Toured Greene County Jail and Green Leaf Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program; met with criminal justice system administrators and substance abuse and mental health leadership.
  • November 18, 2015: Met with ONDCP Director Michael Botticelli and introduced the TREAT Act with Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-3).
  • May 12, 2016: The House passed an amendment he cosponsored to increase access to treatment for pregnant women struggling with substance abuse.
  • May 25, 2016: Introduced CRIB Act to help expand access to specialized treatment and recovery options for infants suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a withdrawal condition in newborns often caused by use of opioids and other addictive substances in pregnant women.
  • August 29, 2016: Hosted a Heroin Epidemic Response Roundtable with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05).
  • October 28, 2016: Hosted a roundtable discussion on the opioid and heroin epidemic in Dayton with Senator Rob Portman (OH).
  • February 2, 2017: Joined the bipartisan Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus.
  • February 7, 2017: Reintroduced the TREAT Act.
  • May 17, 2017: Reintroduced CRIB Act with Congressman Evan Jenkins (WV-03).
  • August 7, 2017: TREAT Act concept supported by President Donald Trump’s Commission to Combat Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
  • September 20, 2017: Helped secure funding for the Community Action Commission of Fayette County to help prevent youth substance abuse.
  • September 22, 2017: Spoke at the Payne Theological Seminary Recovery Month Celebration.
  • September 22, 2017: Visited Alkermes with Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15) to learn about its medical approach to combating the opioid epidemic.
  • September 25, 2017: Held a opioid prevention forum with local leaders and joined Sheriff Plummer in calling for a drug czar.