PDT Staff Writer
U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (OH-2) was in Portsmouth Monday to meet with health and political leaders about the federal government’s role in fighting the area’s drug problems, and to listen to the needs of those agencies in dealing with the issues surrounding addiction.
“I’m here because this community has tried and has accomplished much in their prescription pill problem and the pill mills that we all have heard about and know about, and be very effective with it in cooperation with (the) Ohio Medical Association and the Attorney General,” Wenstrup said. “It’s a widespread problem that’s not just the state of Ohio problem, but it’s certainly here in our district.”
Wenstrup said the purpose of meeting with officials such as State Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), City Health Commissioner Chris Smith, Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams, New Boston Mayor Jim Warren, City Health Department nurse and anti-prescription drug abuse activitist Lisa Roberts and Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware, was to be informed by those local people who have been on the front lines of the battle against illegal drug activity.
“You shut down the pill mills and often there’s another addiction,” Wenstrup said. “Also, if we can stop it here in Ohio, what’s to stop it in Kentucky and West Virginia and nearby areas? So it does have a little bit more of an overreach than just the state of Ohio, so on behalf of my constituents, on behalf of those that are in the surrounding area, I think it’s good to be involved.”
What role can the federal government play in helping with both dealing with the addictions, and helping area law enforcement handle the criminal aspect of the problem?
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out here. That’s really the point of the conversation,” Wenstrup said. “So let’s take a look at what has been successful with the states. We’re a nation of 50 laboratories. So if we find something that’s working, and it’s going to be a good idea here, let’s get it in our neighboring states but maybe nation-wide where we can do a whole lot more to cut down on a problem.”
Adams said it is important for national leaders, such as Wenstrup, to come to this area and see the issues first hand.
“I think having Brad Wenstrup here gives us more input on federal funding - federal input on our state and local problem that we have here,” Adams said. “It provides more education to him (Wenstrup) as to what is actually going on in this part of the state, this county, and this entire tri-state region. So if they understand the problems that we’re dealing with locally, then they’re more prepared for providing us services, money, help, additional law enforcement, and help us with the problems that we have here.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPD