Elected Officials From Around the State Endorse David Pepper’s Plan to Battle Heroin

Elected officials from around the state are recognizing David’s leadership in proposing a comprehensive solution to battle Ohio’s heroin crisis. Watch the videos below to see what these leaders have to say:

Paul Worley, Adams County Commissioner:

Paul Worley is a first-term Adams County Commissioner. Worley ran for office in 2012 after leaving the military, where he served as an Army Infantry Captain and served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. Over the course of his career with the military, Worley was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, two Bronze Star Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal, among others.

PG Sittenfeld, Cincinnati City Councilman:

PG Sittenfeld is in his second term as a member of the Cincinnati City Council. Throughout his time in office, Sittenfeld has helped to transform schools into community centers in the evenings, offering health, educational, cultural and recreational program opportunities to citizens of Cincinnati communities. These programs have received numerous national awards and national recognition for their impact in fighting poverty, reinvigorating neighborhoods and encouraging student achievement.

Adam Brannon, Mayor of Bellefontaine:

Adam Brannon is in his second term as Mayor of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Brannon graduated from the University of Findlay with a major in Political Science and a minor in Public Administration. While in college, Brannon served as a Legislative Intern for the National Volunteer Fire Council in Washington, D.C. As Mayor of Bellefontaine, Brannon oversees 11 different departments in Public Safety, Public Works and Public Finance.

Coshocton Tribune: Pepper plans to pursue opioid distributors on both sides of the law

Apr. 8, 2014

Written by Anna Rumer
Staff Writer

ZANESVILLE — Saving Ohio lives is all about providing a comprehensive and concrete approach, according to Democratic Ohio Attorney General candidate David Pepper, who released his plan to combat the state’s heroin epidemic Tuesday.

Part of Pepper’s five-prong plan is a formula for a revamped state heroin policy, one he said he believes can hold the people responsible for the heroin epidemic accountable while generating funds to increase treatment and and education options across the state.

Mirroring a similar undertaking in Kentucky, Pepper hopes to pursue litigation against pharmaceutical companies that have engaged in what he called unethical opioid marketing leading to an oversaturation in the opioid market. Such an oversaturation may have led to the national epidemic of heroin use, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports 80 percent of heroin addicts abused prescription opioids in the last year, turning to heroin as a less expensive option.

In 2013, more than 800 Ohioans died of an opioid overdose, including 13 Muskingum County residents, as reported by the Muskingum County Coroner’s Office.

Companies that allegedly pushed the pills without considering the effect on consumers would be subject to litigation similar to that settled in January, when Kentucky settled with companies Merck and GlaxoSmithKline for more than $32 million. This money was funneled into the state’s heroin task force by court mandate, helping
to provide more treatment options for addicts.

Such an approach, Pepper, said, would be a way to further fund Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s heroin unit. Pepper thinks the unit, operating with a budget of $1 million gleaned from various state settlements, is underfunded considering the serious nature of the problem.

“We have to take this much more seriously,” he said. “We need to make sure they have the resources they need.”

The budget may be small, said Ryan Stubenrauch, communications director for DeWine’s office, but the results are there. Less than a month ago, 26 people were arrested in a drug trafficking investigation in Gallia and Meigs counties with the help of the heroin unit, which Steubenrauch pointed to as proof the efforts made by DeWine are working.

“The effort is there,” he said. “We’re trying to do anything that’s possible, but it’s something that takes time.”

More charges for drug dealers also are on the table in Ohio. If elected, Pepper promises to pursue drug dealers who have been connected with an overdose death to the fullest extent of the law. If Ohio House Bill 508 passes, that could mean murder charges.

If passed, HB 508, introduced in March, would mean illegally selling drugs to an individual who then overdoses could earn the dealer a lifetime prison sentence with a fine of up to $15,000. If the overdose
victim was an adult, convicted dealers would be eligible for parole after 20 years. If the overdose victim was less than 18 years old, the dealer would be eligible after 25 years. Pepper said such a punishment would be deserved.

“If they are selling something they know kills people,” he said, “we will treat it as a homicide.”

Pepper expressed frustration at instances when drug dealers whose sales have subsequently caused death receive lesser punishments such as probation.

“When there’s an overdose death, I just think we need to send a message,” he said.

This legislation may be too overreaching, said Stubenrauch, who agreed holding drug dealers accountable for their actions is important but thinks county prosecutors should retain judgment in these situations.

Legislation allowing such punishment exists in five states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Florida, which allows for the death penalty in such circumstances.

Link: http://www.coshoctontribune.com/article/20140408/NEWS01/304080036

Enquirer: Pepper: Spend more on heroin treatment

Chrissie Thompson, cthompson@enquirer.com, April 8, 2014

COLUMBUS – Ohio should spend more money on treating heroin addictions and training police to fight drug
dealers, said David Pepper, the former Hamilton County commissioner who is running for Ohio attorney
general.

Cracking down on illegal drug sales won’t solve the heroin crisis if people haven’t received treatment, Pepper told reporters Tuesday at a press conference in Columbus.

The attorney general’s office should also provide training to law enforcement officers so they can trace overdoses or dangerous cocktails of “killer heroin to specific drug dealers, Pepper said.

He wants those dealers to be charged with a higher-degree felony, such as involuntary manslaughter.

Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine has focused only on law enforcement, Pepper said, not drug treatment or high-tech data tracking to find patterns in drug abuse.

Pepper, an Anderson Township Democrat, called on the Legislature to pay for his proposals by allocating money that might be saved from accepting federal money to expand Medicaid to more Ohioans or by returning money to communities that the Legislature cut in 2011.

“At the very moment this crisis was hitting, the Legislature took money from local governments,” he said.

DeWine said he welcomes Pepper’s ideas. He listed a number of efforts he’s undertaken, from town hall meetings to a special police unit to beef up investigations of heroin rings.

 

Zanesville Times-Recorder: Candidate criticizes state drug enforcement

Written by Anna Rumer Staff Writer
Mar. 31, 2014

ZANESVILLE — After budget cuts to local Ohio governments in 2011 left many public servants struggling
to meet the needs of their communities, they faced another crisis. An all-time high of heroin overdoses hit Ohio — 1,765 in 2011.

The opiate problem continues to plague Ohio three years later, with 800 Ohioans dying from heroin overdoses in 2013, and more than 13 Muskingum County residents dying from an opioid overdose since January 2013 according to the Muskingum County Coroner’s Office.

Ohio Attorney General candidate David Pepper believes this problem has been grossly mismanaged by the state government, he said while visiting the Muskingum County Democratic Office on Monday.

“It may be the biggest issue right now that all Ohioans are dealing with, and I would say the leadership from the attorney general has just been completely absent,” he said.

To truly combat the problem, Pepper has set up a plan including providing all first responders with Naloxone, an opioid antagonist drug that can be used as emergency overdose treatment.

Similar measures were taken in North Carolina, and since implementation in April 2013 the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition is has reported the reversal of 45 heroin overdoses. With promising numbers in the early stages, Pepper plans to pursue similar legislation.

A large part of the crisis mismanagement, he said, has been in the budgetary crippling of the public safety services at local levels.

“The very moment this crisis started to explode, that’s when they took the money from local governments to help fund the state government,” Pepper said. “So the people who have to deal with this have basically their hands tied behind their backs and the state officials are saying, ‘Well, let’s do town hall meetings and talk about it.’ It’s just dumb.”

Pepper’s solution largely deals with asking the state for the money taken from the local governments three years ago. This money, in addition to training given to local law enforcement focusing on prevention measures, drug enforcement measures and dedicated treatment plans is crucial in fighting the growth of the epidemic, according to Pepper.

“What we need now is not pep talks,” he said. “We need solutions. And the solutions we know are all about treatment, prevention, and about smart law enforcement, which has to start with local … We need to take this more seriously, we need to make sure they have the resources they need.”

Efforts taken by Attorney General Mike DeWine, such as his statewide town hall meetings and $1 million heroin task force have been too little, too late for Pepper.

“The town hall meetings should have been three years ago,” he said. “Doing this now, and gathering input when we’re up to almost 1,000 overdose deaths here, is just absurd.”

Link: http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20140331/NEWS01/303310051/Candidate-criticizes-state-drug-enforcement

 

Plain Dealer: Democratic attorney general candidate David Pepper releases plan to curb heroin abuse, criticizes Mike DeWine’s tactics

By Jackie Borchardt, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on April 08, 2014 at 5:56 PM, updated April 08, 2014 at 6:21 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Democratic candidate for Ohio attorney general David Pepper said Tuesday the state needs to be doing more toprevent heroin overdose deaths in Ohio.

Pepper, a Cincinnati attorney, said the attorney general needs to treat heroin addiction as a public health problem — increase addiction treatment opportunities, crack down on dealers, train local law enforcement and make naloxone, a drug that can reverse effects of an overdose, more available.

“If we don’t treat this problem in this way, we simply won’t get through it,” Pepper said. “This cannot be just throwing dollars at the program. It has to be much smarter than it was in the past. There is evidence out there for what works.”

Pepper said any savings from the state expanding Medicaid should be spent on addiction treatment, and the
attorney general should seek damages from pharmaceutical companies that over-marketed and over-supplied
prescription drugs that were later abused.

Pepper outlined his plan to reporters here on Tuesday, flanked by Adams County Commissioner Paul Worley and Bellefontaine Mayor Adam Brannon, both Democrats. Worley and Brannon said state officials are not doing enough to help communities battle heroin.

Pepper said the GOP-led legislature has made some improvements through bipartisan legislation but Attorney
General Mike DeWine has done too little, too late to address Ohio’s heroin problem.

In November 2013, DeWine announced a $1 million special heroin unit, which includes more than a dozen
investigators, lawyers, and drug abuse awareness specialists, to help local law enforcement expedite heroin cases.

DeWine’s office collected information from 47 county coroners that track heroin-related deaths to determine Ohio has a heroin epidemic. More than 900 people died in 2013, up from 606 in 2012, according to the office’s research. Cuyahoga County counted 195 deaths from heroin in 2013.

Pepper said the attorney general should be using technology beyond phone calls to coroners’ offices to truly get a handle on the problem and prevent overdose deaths.

“These dealers and these networks are dealing in 2014 technological terms and we’re still back in the ’80s,
tabulating sheets by calling up these different offices,” Pepper said.

DeWine rejected Pepper’s criticism in an interview, pointing to his efforts to speed up drug analysis by the state crime lab, spread grassroots solutions and hold town hall meetings around the state.

“It’s a sad thing when somebody wants to politicize a major tragedy that is occurring in the state of Ohio,” DeWine said.

DeWine said he couldn’t fully explain what the heroin unit does because it’s “law enforcement sensitive,” but said the effort has the technology and legal firepower to go after the state’s bigger dealers.

DeWine agreed with Pepper that more funding is needed for addiction treatment.

Link: http://blog.cleveland.com/open_impact/print.html?entry=/2014/04/democratic_attorney_general_ca.html

AP: OFFICIALS: SCHOOLS PLAY LARGE ROLE IN HEROIN FIGHT

WORTHINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Parents, schools and educators all play an important role in fighting the state’s heroin abuse epidemic, Ohio’s governor and attorney general said at a forum Tuesday.

The remarks followed a report by the state Health Department that found a record 680 people died of heroin-related overdoses in 2012, the most recent year for which data was available, a 60 percent increase over 2011.

Heroin is “in every neighborhood, and every community,” Kasich told educators from about 40 mainly suburban schools districts as he promoted the state’s “Start Talking” anti-drug addiction program during a visit to Worthington-Kilbourne High School outside Columbus.

“Do not think you are immune from this. We are not immune from this,” the governor said. “This drug problem in our culture is a poison that threatens the essence of who we are.”

The program emphasizes the importance of parents, teachers and others talking to children about staying off drugs as a way of lessening the chances they will become addicted.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said action addressing heroin must start at the local level, and has to involve law enforcement, education, prevention and treatment.

“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” DeWine said.

Ed FitzGerald, Kasich’s Democratic opponent in the fall governor’s race, and David Pepper, DeWine’s Democratic challenger for attorney general, criticized the state’s efforts against heroin as delayed and anemic.

 

Link: http://www.the-press-news.com/ap%20state/2014/04/29/officials-schools-play-large-role-in-heroin-fight

FitzGerald & Pepper Respond to Kasich-DeWine Heroin Summit

COLUMBUS – Today, Governor Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine spoke at a heroin summit at Worthington Kilbourne High School outside of Columbus. Both Kasich and DeWine have been critiqued by health officials, editorial boards, and law enforcement for their delayed, anemic response to Ohio’s heroin crisis.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald released the following statement on the summit:
“It’s hypocritical for the Governor to speak at a summit on heroin abuse when for years he cut millions to police and social services, ignoring a problem that his own Department of Health said was foreseeable. Before he grandstands on this issue again, Governor Kasich needs to say whether or not he supports the MBR amendment that would cut millions from mental health funding to pay for addiction services. The Governor claims to be a champion for those in the shadows, but right now his Republican legislature is stealing from the mental health community to help address the Governor’s public relations crisis on heroin abuse.”
Democratic nominee for Attorney General David Pepper released the following statement:
“Heroin overdose deaths in Ohio have been increasing by 50 to 60% per year for the last three years, and while other states are stepping up, Ohio’s response to date has been anemic. Instead of more meetings, pep talks and lectures to local government, we need action. Our plan does that. As Attorney General, I will provide more treatment, hold dealers accountable for heroin deaths, and restore the resources and training local communities need to battle this crisis.”
 KASICH-DEWINE RECORD ON HEROIN CRISIS
Lack of Treatment Is “A Statewide Embarrassment,” State Officials Have Only Given a “Pep Talk”: The Plain Dealer has called the lack of treatment capacity a “statewide embarrassment.” [Plain Dealer, 2/18/14]. The Coshocton Tribune said that with few resources from the state, it is “disparaging when an elected official travels around the state giving what amounts to nothing more than a pep talk.” [Coshocton Tribune2/1/2014]
Heroin Crisis Was Foreseeable, Health Department Officials Say: “‘As strict legislation closed pill mills and prescription drugs became less available, Ohio was left with an opioid-addicted population in search of a drug,’ [Christy Beeghly,violence and injury prevention program administrator at the Ohio Department of Health] said. ‘We’ve sort of primed the pump of bringing heroin in,’ she said.” [Mansfield News Journal, 4/18/2014]
Attorney General DeWine Failed for Three Years to Acknowledge Growing Crisis: By his office’s own admission, DeWine did not even begin tabulating data on heroin deaths until Oct. 2013, years after the crisis began and states like Kentucky began responding. [Attorney General Statement, 11/18/13]
Kasich Cut Funding for Social Workers, Mental Health Programs, and Other Human Services Over 50 percent Across the State on Average: “Deep cuts have been made to all local governments and to special districts. Health and human service levies were hit especially hard, losing 54 percent of state aid, on average.” [Policy Matters Ohio, 9/13/2012]
DeWine Failed to Stand Up for First RespondersDeWine did not speak out against either Senate Bill 5 or Gov. Kasich’s massive local budget cuts for police and other first responders. This is despite his position as Ohio’s top law enforcement official.
Kasich Cuts to Local Government Fund Took Cops Off the Street: “Kasich insists that the state’s rainy day fund should be replenished with new budget surpluses, despite the fact that schools and communities across Ohio are still suffering from state budget cuts, which resulted in ‘cutbacks in essential local services, hikes in local property taxes, and layoffs of teachers, police officers, and firefighters.’”  [Toledo Blade, 4/29/2012]

ON NATIONAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY, PEPPER ENCOURAGES SAFE DISPOSAL TO PREVENT ADDICTION AND ABUSE

CINCINNATI – Today, David Pepper, Democratic Candidate for Ohio Attorney General, made the following statement encouraging participation in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a nation-wide effort occurring tomorrow, Saturday, April 26th.

“Tomorrow, I encourage Ohioans to responsibly dispose of leftover prescription medication at one of the many drop-off sites around the state,” Pepper said. “Not only is prescription drug abuse dangerous to the health of users, but it is one of the leading causes of abuse of other opioids, including heroin.”

Ohioans can dispose of old or unwanted prescription drugs at numerous sites across the state, including many local police and fire departments, pharmacies, grocery stores, and hospitals. Ohioans can visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s website at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/ to find the nearest drop-off location.

“Beating the scourge of prescription drug and heroin addiction will require a comprehensive approach, but safe disposal of old prescription drugs is an important place to start. I hope Ohioans will remind their friends and families about this simple, but important, step that we can take to help prevent addiction.”

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FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARILYN BROWN ENDORSES PEPPER’S COMPREHENSIVE HEROIN STRATEGY

COLUMBUS – Today, Marilyn Brown, President of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, released the following statement in support of David Pepper’s comprehensive plan to tackle Ohio’s heroin epidemic.

“I applaud David Pepper’s comprehensive and holistic action plan to battle Ohio’s heroin epidemic, and am specifically impressed and inspired by his focus on evidence-based prevention and treatment programs.

“In order to make a real impact in heroin and other opiate abuse, we must aggressively combat the flow of these drugs into our communities, and we must simultaneously offer programs to users and addicts that offer them real hope for sobriety and reintegration into our workforce and our neighborhoods.

“David’s program addresses all of these points, and is exactly the type of forward-thinking policy that we need in our Attorney General.”

Read the full plan: davidpepper.com/battlingheroin

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Battling the Heroin Epidemic: Real Leadership, Concrete Action

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO00-pgU6hI&feature=youtu.be

The heroin epidemic continues to explode throughout Ohio, impacting small towns and large cities alike. It has caused thousands of overdose deaths and empty lives, fueled property crimes and home invasions, and overwhelmed the criminal justice system. The financial costs for the state are now in the billions of dollars.

Recent bipartisan legislation has begun to implement solutions, but Ohio’s statewide officials have yet to take on the heroin crisis in an aggressive or comprehensive way. Indeed, they have made a number of decisions taking us in the wrong direction. For example, even as statewide leaders claim the answers must come from “grassroots,” local communities, the state deprived local governments of critical resources to tackle the problem at the very time the crisis exploded.

Attorney General DeWine’s Response: “Nothing More than a Pep Talk” 

Ohio’s heroin epidemic is not new. Deaths associated with heroin use have risen dramatically since 2010, a predictable consequence of the crackdown on “pill mills” without corresponding increase in available drug treatment. Yet the Attorney General’s office did not even begin analyzing heroin data until October 2013, years into the crisis.[1] Since finally declaring an epidemic, DeWine has failed to offer a serious response, instead holding a series of town hall meetings and forming a poorly defined “$1 million heroin unit.”  As one newspaper stated about the town hall meetings, “it’s disparaging when an elected official travels around the state giving what amounts to nothing more than a pep talk.” (Coshocton Tribune, 2/1).  The paper added: “[DeWine’s] office would not say what this new unit, which cost $1 million to form, has accomplished since its inception in November.”

While DeWine and Ohio have dithered, other states are acting.  For example, Kentucky officials have been well ahead in addressing this crisis. The Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact and Response Workgroup was formed in 2012 and issued a comprehensive report with recommendations in Fall 2013 — the same time that DeWine’s office was just beginning to collect data on the issue.[2]At the same time DeWine began giving pep talks and touting his $1 million unit, Kentucky’s Attorney General dedicated $32 million for treatment efforts alone.  David Pepper’s plan will put Ohio where other states are:

The Pepper Plan: A Comprehensive Approach to Take on Heroin Addiction

1.   Treat the Heroin Epidemic as a Public Health Crisis

That’s what it is and it must be approached that way. A $1 million heroin “unit” is wholly insufficient to addressing the scale of this problem. As occurred in Northern Kentucky, Pepper will bring public health officials from across the state into a public conversation with law enforcement, and form a multi-agency Heroin Task Force to track in real time the crisis at the local and regional level and propose and monitor the impact of solutions.

2.   Drying Up Demand
  • Evidence-Based Prevention – The most important decision in addressing the heroin crisis is the individual decision of each and every Ohioan to be responsible and avoid starting down the path to addiction. Smart investments in prevention are the best investment the state can make. While there are many well-intentioned prevention programs, good intentions won’t solve this crisis. There is clear evidence in place that some programs work effectively and are a good investment, and others are not.  Ohio can’t afford not to know the difference:
    • Best practices: Pepper will work with prevention experts at the state and local level to inventory prevention and education initiatives to ensure that high quality and evidence-based best practices are in place across the state—particularly with the state’s young people.  If there are major gaps in prevention services, Pepper will work with the legislature to find funding to fill those gaps. Pepper will also share with local governments and agencies what the evidence shows are the best prevention efforts, so that every dollar invested in prevention is invested effectively.
    • Schools: Thanks to cuts to local government funds and from the Attorney General’s office, Ohio’s schools have far fewer school resource officers than they did a few years ago—and these officers can play critical roles in prevention for young Ohioans. Pepper will push for ways to restore these critical resources, along with other best practices, back in our schools at a time where they’re so badly needed.
  • Dramatically Increasing Quality Treatment: While prevention is important, it is not enough—Ohio must greatly increase the capacity of high-quality treatment, and the necessary continuum of treatment, in Ohio’s communities and regions. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently wrote: “the lack of beds available for detox and treatment remains a statewide embarrassment.” (Plain Dealer Editorial, 2/18/14). Cash-strapped rural counties simply do not have the funds to handle the problem; even wealthier counties have far too little treatment (Plain Dealer, 4/1/14 — noting that Medina County doesn’t have one residential treatment program)
    • Treatment Inventory: As Attorney General, Pepper will work with public health experts at the state and local levels to inventory the treatment needs and capacity in counties and regions throughout the state, identify the gaps and waiting lists
    • Adding Capacity: Pepper will work with the legislature to bring meaningful treatment dollars back to local communities to increase access to high quality, evidence-based treatment. As the Plain Dealer wrote, “without a fiscal commitment to recovery, the war will never be won.” (PD, 2/8/14)
    • Evidenced-Based Treatment: As with prevention, all treatment is not equal.  Pepper will work with treatment experts to ensure that evidence-based best treatment practices are being adopted across the state, and that a treatment continuum is available to meet the various stages of recovery.  For example, one recent study showed that only half of Ohio addiction facilities offer medications proven to battle heroin addiction, while 82% of West Virginia facilities do so. Treatment grants should flow to those programs the evidence shows make the biggest difference.
    • Training for Healthcare Professionals: A key step in this process includes providing additional training to physicians, nurses and other health professionals on the front lines about addiction and medication-assisted treatment.  Too few are up to speed on the best practices and protocols required to tackle the addiction epidemic.
  • Targeting the Oversupply of Opioids—Recovering Funds to Address the Crisis: Much of the demand for heroin results from the oversupply and over-marketing of powerful prescription drugs. Sadly, there is significant evidence that drug companies engaged in marketing campaigns that overstated the benefits and understated the risks of powerful opioids.  Many Ohioans who have been targeted by these efforts, will spend years on opioids, and many of them are moving to heroin because it is far less expensive. As Attorney General, Pepper will pursue litigation, when appropriate, against companies that have engaged in these practices. Such suits can recover funds to provide funding for addiction treatment, and can require drug companies to honestly disclose the real risks of opioids. (Kentucky’s Attorney General recently secured $32 million for treatment through pharmaceutical litigation).
  • Step Up Treatment in Criminal Justice System: Addicts are often most responsive to treatment at the moment they enter the criminal justice system—and if an addiction is unaddressed during a jail term, the underlying problem simply continues unabated.  Pepper will work with the legislature and local governments to enhance the ability of courts, sheriffs, prosecutors and defense lawyers to intervene with addicts at that key moment, and provide treatment through the criminal justice process—funded by Medicaid expansion whenever possible.  This can include providing treatment/intervention in lieu of prosecution when appropriate, or as conditions of release or monitoring.  It also includes adding drug court options in counties that do not have them today, and ensuring that CBCF facilities (Community Based Correctional Facilities) and other facilities are capable of handling the new inflow of heroin addicts.  Finally, given the breadth of the problem, Pepper will work with the legislature to remove some statutory obstacles that eliminate the option for treatment for many low-level offenders who badly need treatment, only continuing the cycle of addiction and criminal activity.
3.   Saving Lives

If administered in a timely fashion, the prescription drug Naloxone (Narcan) can prevent overdose deaths.  Communities in the country that have distributed Narcan broadly have seen overdose deaths drop quickly.  Ohio must get this life-saving drug in the hands of first responders and health care providers as quickly as possible.  A bill just passed that allows this to happen.  Under Pepper, the AG’s office will do all it can – from law enforcement training to assisting in implementation – to ensure this tool is used to its greatest effect.

4.   Cracking Down on Supply/Dealing

While those with addictions need treatment, those selling heroin and causing the death of so many need to know there will be real and immediate accountability here in Ohio. Working with local law enforcement, Pepper will take a number of steps to make this happen in very corner of the state.

  • Cracking Down on Dealers: For every overdose death in Ohio, there is a dealer who sold that drug…and who caused that death.  Pepper will provide special prosecutor support to County prosecutors, and special training for law enforcement, seeking the most severe sentences on drug pushers whose sales are directly linked to overdose deaths. Pepper will also seek sentencing enhancements for those who are selling drug combinations that are known to be particularly lethal, as well as those who are found to be repeat heroin sellers.
  • Real-Time Data Analysis: With today’s technology, the Attorney General’s slow response to the heroin crisis—tabulating heroin data years after the fact and then declaring a crisis in late 2013—is unacceptable, and will not solve the problem going forward. Pepper will modernize the office so it can more effectively tackle the supply/law enforcement side of this problem in real-time. Working with local law enforcement, other state agencies and substance abuse experts, Pepper will upgrade and modernize the ability of law enforcement and health officials to map and track heroin use, overdoses, trafficking and results of intervention efforts—and use that data to identify real-time data on hotspots of heroin trade, patterns, overdoses, and other telltale signs, allowing state and local officials to deploy resources to crack down as problems flare up, not years after.
  • Intelligence: Pepper will work with local jurisdictions to bolster the intelligence and surveillance needed to track and clamp down on heroin dealer networks throughout Ohio.
  • Cross-state Cooperation: Pepper will work with Attorneys General and law enforcement in neighboring states and federal authorities to devise new, cooperative strategies to control the flow of heroin around the region. This will help control access to heroin in the state.
5.   Support and Training for Local Law Enforcement

Local law enforcement and first responders represent the front line in the fight against heroin on our streets. And they need the best training possible to do so. Whether it is responding to overdoses to save lives, or processing an overdose crime scene so evidence can be preserved to tie the death back to a dealer, cutting-edge training is the key to getting the job done. Instead of slashing general fund support for training, and depriving local officials of promised casino dollars intended for training, Pepper will re-prioritize training as a key step in battling this epidemic.

Coshocton Tribune Editorial – Talk is Cheap: Money Needed to Fight Drugs

Elected officials from around the state are recognizing David’s leadership in proposing a comprehensive solution to battle Ohio’s heroin crisis. Watch the videos below to see what these leaders have to say:

Paul Worley, Adams County Commissioner:

Paul Worley is a first-term Adams County Commissioner. Worley ran for office in 2012 after leaving the military, where he served as an Army Infantry Captain and served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. Over the course of his career with the military, Worley was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with Valor, two Bronze Star Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal, among others.

PG Sittenfeld, Cincinnati City Councilman:

PG Sittenfeld is in his second term as a member of the Cincinnati City Council. Throughout his time in office, Sittenfeld has helped to transform schools into community centers in the evenings, offering health, educational, cultural and recreational program opportunities to citizens of Cincinnati communities. These programs have received numerous national awards and national recognition for their impact in fighting poverty, reinvigorating neighborhoods and encouraging student achievement.

Adam Brannon, Mayor of Bellefontaine:

Adam Brannon is in his second term as Mayor of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Brannon graduated from the University of Findlay with a major in Political Science and a minor in Public Administration. While in college, Brannon served as a Legislative Intern for the National Volunteer Fire Council in Washington, D.C. As Mayor of Bellefontaine, Brannon oversees 11 different departments in Public Safety, Public Works and Public Finance.

________________________________

 

[1] Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Statement, 11/18/13

[2] Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/10/2013