Saving Adams County’s power plants North Adams High School announces annual Science Fair Winners Board of Developmentally Disabled holds Jan. 11 swearing-in ceremony Peebles Elementary honors December Students of the Month Adams County villages receive Bike Racks and Fix-it Stations College Credit Plus Program available to high school students Wenstrup selected as Chairman of Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health 2017 Manchester Homecoming is ‘Super’ Lions put damper on Manchester Homecoming West Union athletes honored by OSSCA Senior Profile: Story Kremin Bickett, Runyan lead Lady Dragons to victory in Manchester Indians improve to 8-3 with Saturday night rout of Portsmouth West Farm Bureau scholarships available to HS seniors Wilbur named to the Wilmington College Dean’s List Opal Van Hoose Ruby Yazell Chris Volk North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up

Making a difference By combating the heroin epidemic

At a recent town hall in Darke County, I asked those in attendance how many of them had family members or friends who had been impacted by addiction. More than half the hands went up. Sadly, I wasn’t surprised. It was just the latest example of how the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is impacting our communities.

More than 2,000 Ohioans now die every year because of drug overdoses from opioids, heroin or prescription drugs. More than 120 Americans die every day. It’s become an epidemic, and it seems to be growing worse, not better.

Three years ago, I set out to do something about opioids at the federal level. I have been involved in addressing drug abuse for more than two decades, including starting an anti-drug community coalition in my own hometown of Cincinnati and passing legislation that focuses on prevention and education. But this opioid epidemic is different and the grip of addiction more devastating.

I traveled throughout Ohio listening to those in the trenches who work in prevention or treat addicts in recovery. I heard from law enforcement, health care professionals, families who had lost loved ones to this disease, and recovering addicts themselves.

We then convened five conferences in Washington, DC, bringing in experts from Ohio and around the country to discuss topics ranging from the need for better education and prevention, to the best practices on treatment, to dealing with the specific challenges of our veterans, and to helping the increasing number of babies who are tragically born with addiction.

Informed and inspired by those discussions, I co-authored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, also known as CARA, with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Our goal with this legislation is to begin to help turn the tide of addiction and save lives.

I’m proud to report that the United States Senate recently passed CARA on a rare, bipartisan vote of 94-1. The measure takes a number of critical steps toward combating this epidemic including, first and foremost, by ensuring that resources are devoted to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that work. Here is some of what the bill does:

CARA expands prevention and educational efforts – particularly those aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers – to prevent prescription opioid abuse and the use of heroin in the first place.

CARA increases the number of disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.

CARA expands the availability of the overdose reversal drug naloxone to law enforcement agencies and first responders to save more lives.

CARA creates new prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and over-prescribing.

CARA identifies and treats individuals suffering from substance use disorders in our criminal justice system and expands diversion and education efforts to give individuals a second chance.

CARA devotes additional resources to proven treatment and recovery programs at the state and local level for the millions of addicts who need help.

CARA helps women and babies by expanding treatment options for expectant and postpartum women struggling with addiction.

Lastly, CARA provides additional help to veterans, setting up more Veterans Treatment Courts that help break the cycle of drug abuse through a program of rigorous treatment and personal accountability.

This is the first time in decades the Senate has had a real debate on drug addiction policy – how to prevent it, treat it, and ultimately help people recover. The basis of our legislation is that we should start treating addiction like other illnesses. I believe this will help break the stigma associated with drug addiction to get more people into recovery and a healthier, more productive life, helping them achieve their God-given potential.

CARA now has the support of more than 130 national stakeholders in the public health, law enforcement, criminal justice, and drug policy fields, including dozens in Ohio. While the Senate has passed this bill, our work is from over. It’s time for the House of Representatives to act so we can get this bill to the president’s desk and signed into law. I will not rest until we accomplish this goal.

The challenge of addiction will ultimately be solved by our families and our communities coming together, united by a common goal and our shared faith that with the right tools we can succeed. CARA makes the federal government a better partner in that noble effort.

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Rob Portman

Contributing Columnist

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2016 People's Defender