Gongwer News Service report on Ohio opioid settlement board saying its exempt from open meeting/public records law
The OneOhio opioid settlement board met today and stated openly for the first time that it believes it is exempt from open meetings and public record laws. The board, which will control 55% of Ohio’s $1 billion in opioid settlement money, has been operating largely in secret and contrary to the language of the settlement agreement. Gongwer News Service, which provides in-depth reporting on Ohio, provides this account of the issue.
Harm Reduction Ohio and two other organizations requested that the OneOhio opioid settlement board set aside time for the public to speak at its three-hour board meeting Thursday morning. The opioid settlement board will control 55% of Ohio’s $1 billion opioid settlement. Until now, it has excluded the public from involvement in the opioid settlement.
The OneOhio Recovery Foundation reflects racial inequality in the extreme. In Ohio, Black residents die of opioid overdose death rates 405 higher that White residents. Yet the 29-person OneOhio Recovery Foundation board has only one Black member. The 19 powerful regional OneOhio boards have essentially no minority board members — not Black, not Asian, not Hispanic. And the impacted population — people who use/d drug and people who’ve lost loved ones to overdose — have been cut out of opioid settlement spending.
A new Harm Reduction Ohio report uses two surveys to detail the who, what, when and where of overdose reversals in Ohio. You’ll learn what types of naloxone is most common, how many doses are typically used and the relationship between the person administering naloxone and the person suffering the overdose.
This article details how the new OneOhio Recovery Foundation, a government board that controls 55% of Ohio’s $1 billion opioid settlement, is off to a disastrous start that will cost lives. The board is has excluded the public, the impacted population, Black Ohioans and other stakeholders from having involvement in the opioid settlement — or even knowing what the board is doing. Government officials, mostly county commissioners and township trustees, claim they’re operating a “private foundation” that is not subject to open meetings requirements, public records law, state ethics rules and more. Learn how the state is flagrantly ignoring state law and the plain language of the opioid settlement agreement to create a system of waste and spoils for government officials.
Ohio’s racial gap in overdose has reached horrific levels. Look at how overdose death rates differ by race and consider what it means. A major shift in our overdose reduction efforts is long overdue.
Overdose deaths in Ohio appear to have declined modestly but steadily over the last six months. The reasons aren’t clear, but some evidence points to expanded naloxone distribution as a possible reason. Still, death rates remain catastrophically high and appear better only when compared to unprecedented levels of overdose deaths that occurred early in the Covid pandemic,
Black residents have suffered higher overdose death rates since late 2018, and the racial gap in overdose death has grown more extreme with each passing year. The OneOhio Recovery Board, which will spend most of Ohio’s $1 billion opioid settlement, met for the first time last week. All 27 people in the room were White. Ohio, we have a problem.
Overdose death remain at horrific levels, but preliminary data show a measurable decline began last November. In the last six months, preliminary data show overdose deaths fell 6.5% versus the same period a year earlier. It’s hard to say why, but the state’s mammoth Narcan blitz last August and September appears to have played a role in the decline.
OneOhio, which will spend most of Ohio’s $1 bilion in opioid settlement money, held its first meeting today — and banned the public from attending. Read about OneOhio’s rocky start and how the impacted population has been almost entirely excluded from having influence in how the money will be spent.
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