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.

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Will public comment be allowed at OneOhio opioid settlement board meeting Thursday?

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.

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The Incredible Whiteness of Being OneOhio

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.

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SHIPWRECK ALERT: The OneOhio opioid settlement disaster, Part 2

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.

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Overdose deaths continue modest decline in Ohio

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,

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Overdose deaths of Black Ohioans soar; deaths of White residents decline

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.

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Overdose deaths in Ohio decline over six months from record level

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.

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OneOhio opioid settlement spending off to disastrous start

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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It’s official: Ohio suffers record level of overdose death in 2021

Today, the official overdose death count hit 5,083, passing the horrific record of 5,017 set just a year before. Another 100 or so deaths are yet to be added to the 2021 mortality data, so the final death toll will be about 5,200 Ohio residents dead from accidental drug overdoses. What’s caused this public health catastrophe? What can be done about it?

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Ohio overdose count for 2021 now exceeds 5,000, on way to a record loss of life

Ohio is on track to report 5,200+ overdose deaths in 2021, even worst than the record of 5,017 set in 2020. Twenty five counties have already confirmed record levels of overdose death in 2021; several counties are likely to join this sad list when all deaths are accounted for. Is the state prioritizing where death is worst in Ohio? This article will help you decide.

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Ohio drug use levels: Totally average

Ohio residents use drugs at slightly below the national average. The belief that high levels of drug use is the cause of Ohio’s high level of overdose death is false. What has Ohio done to turnj average levels of drug use into some of the nation’s highest overdose death rates?

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NEW REPORT: Ohio Overdose Deaths in 2021

Harm Reduction Ohio presents a decade of overdose death counts for all major drugs. The counts estimate the final count of overdose deaths for 2021 and connect the estimates to actual death counts from 2011 through 2022. The charts allow readers to understand the fast-changing nature of Ohio’s overdose death epidemic.

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Meth Overdose Deaths in Ohio Soar to Nearly 1,400 in 2021

Fentanyl-adulterated stimulants — both meth and cocaine — are driving overdose deaths to an unprecedented level in Ohio. We need to stop thinking we have an “opioid crisis.” We have an overdose epidemic and the cause is drug adulteration caused by the drug war.

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Overdose Death in Ohio: Where does your county rank?

Harm Reduction Ohio publishes a new list showing overdose death ranking for all 88 Ohio counties, from best to worst, for every year from 2017 through 2021. See where your county ranks. And how that has changed in the last five years.

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Ohio Department of Health Releases 2020 Overdose Death Report

The Ohio Department of Health released its overdose fatality report for 2020 today. Harm Reduction Ohio has already reported these numbers by drawing on the state's online mortality database. The report confirms, for example, that a record 5,017 Ohio residents died...

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The Road to Hell: What caused Ohio’s overdose epidemic?

Harm Reduction Ohio provides an in-depth look at the latest trends in our state’s overdose epidemic and asks: what caused the epidemic? Did the crackdown on prescription opioids, however well-intended, cause the overdose epidemic as we know it today?

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VIDEOS: Harm Reduction Ohio Public Policy Series

Harm Reduction Ohio’s October Public Policy Series.

Recordings now availableĀ 

 

  • October 25, 2021 – Ohio Opioid Settlements: How To Spend $1 Billion
  • October 18, 2021 – Worse Than Ever: Overdose Death in Ohio
  • October 11, 2021 – Ohio Drug Courts: Through Participants’ Eyes
  • October 4, 2021 – Kinship Care: What Ohio Children Need

Ohio Opioid Settlements: How To Spend $1 Billion Wisely

October 25, 2021

Host: Dennis Cauchon, President, Harm Reduction Ohio

Panelists:

  • Christine Minhee, Soros Justice Fellow; founder, opioidsettlementtracker.com
  • Scott and Wes Weidle, impact family members; co-authors, Little Lost Boy: A Dose of Reality
  • Mark Hurst, former medical director, Ohio Department of Health

Worse Than Ever: Overdose Death in Ohio

October 18, 2021

Host: Dan Brook, MD/PhD Student, Ohio State University

Prayer: Bishop Marcia Dinkins

Panelists:

  • Shae Dalrymple, Communications Director, Harm Reduction Ohio
  • Jaime Iten, Epidemiologist, Ohio Department of Health
  • Orman Hall, Former Director,, Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team

Ohio Drug Courts: Through Participants’ Eyes

October 11, 2021

Host: Molly N. True, Board Member, Harm Reduction Ohio

Panelists:

  • Allie Mikolanis, Public Policy Fellow, Harm Reduction Ohio
  • Gary Daniels, Chief Lobbyist, ACLU of Ohio
  • Sarah Blake, Drug Court Participant

Kinship Care: What Ohio Children Need

October 4, 2021

Host: AmandaLynn Reese, Director, Outreach and Engagement, Harm Reduction Ohio

Panelists:

  • Sarah Palazzo, Public Health Fellow, Harm Reduction Ohio
  • Dawn Pullin, Director, Behavorial Health and Addiction, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
  • Brenda Cameron Ryan, Founder/Director, Keys to Serenity

VIDEO: Sam Snodgrass, PhD, “The Struggle for Survival: Opioids, Addiction, and the Brain”

Watch the keynote talk at Harm Reduction Ohio’s annual conference.

This hourlong video presents Sam Snodgrass’s keynote talk at Harm Reduction Ohio’s annual conferenceĀ  in April. It deserves your time and attention.

Sam holds a doctorate in biopsychology and had a research fellowship from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He lost it all from an addiction to opioids. Several parents who lost a child to overdose told us they did not fully understand what happed and what their child was going through until they heard’s Sam’s talk at the Harm Reduction Coalition’s conference in New Orleans or elsewhere.

Sam Snodgrass, PhD

Sam’s talk his three major parts, each one fascinating in its own right:

  • His personal journey from successful academic at medical school to a homeless opioid addict who’d lost everything.
  • The neuroscience behind opioids and addiction.
  • Why harm reduction is crucial to reducing overdose deaths and other destructive consequences of current drug policies.

Mary

Special thanks to Mary Stafford, a mother who lost a son to overdose and did not understand what happened until hearing Sam’s talk. She hired a professional video crew to record Sam’s talk at HRO’s conference. The recording was made for Broken No More, a family organization that hopes “more enlightened drug policies may help stem the tide of addiction and overdose.”

A big thanks to Sam, Mary and Laura Cash, a board member of both Harm Reduction Ohio and Broken No More.

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