Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announces new initiatives to combat opioid epidemic

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Attorney General Mike DeWine has unveiled a 12-point "Recovery Ohio" plan to help free the state from the grip of its heroin and opioid overdoses that he says kill about 14 Buckeyes every day.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, DeWine pointed the finger at drug companies for creating "this misery and destruction."

"I am determined to bring them to justice by demanding that they fund the extensive effort needed to clean up their mess," DeWine tweeted. "Yes, I am mad. And every Ohioan should be mad."

DeWine, one of Ohio's longest serving and best-known politicians, is seeking the Republican nomination in next year's governor race

In May, he sued the five largest manufacturers of prescription opioids for their alleged roles in misleading doctors about how addictive prescription opioids are. The lawsuit seeks remedies from the manufacturers to help remediate the damage caused by the proliferation of opioids in Ohio. 

RELATED: President Trump declares opioid crisis a public health emergency

DeWine said his plan builds upon the innovative work that Ohioans have already done to fight the epidemic, specifically pointing out Colerain Township's Quick Response Team.

The plan includes the following measures: 

  1. Pass legislation to give Gov. John Kasich the ability to declare a public health emergency statewide or in certain areas.
  2. Create a 21st century law enforcement data infrastructure that allows real-time, statewide data-sharing and brings state-of-the-art data analytics and crime prediction to every law enforcement agency in Ohio.
  3. Expand proven drug task force models that specifically target/disrupt flow of money/drugs from Mexican drug cartels.
  4. Create at least 60 more specialized drug courts.
  5. Double substance use treatment capacity in Ohio.
  6. Expand workforce of critical specialists.  
  7. Empower employers to help employees with substance use disorder to seek treatment while remaining employed.
  8. Help business owners hire employees in recovery by offering employers incentives and reducing risks. 
  9. Create a special position reporting directly to the governor who works every day on the opioid epidemic.
  10. Implement proven kindergarten through 12th grade drug prevention education in all Ohio schools.
  11. Roll out a statewide drug prevention media campaign.
  12. Expand early intervention programs that target Ohio families and children in foster care.

For more of WCPO's coverage on Ohio's heroin crisis, visit WCPO.com/heroin.

Watch DeWine's entire news conference in the video player below.

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