Examining Ohio's Opioid Epidemic: Senate Committee Hearing Set for Today in Cleveland

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Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will convene a hearing at University Hospitals to further examine the opioid epidemic in Ohio. U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman will attend.

(The 10 a.m. public hearing will not be live-streamed, according to the committee.)

It's impossible to miss the mountain of statistics and news stories stitching together the increasingly troublesome opioid epidemic, especially here in Northeast Ohio. The coordinator for the Cuyahoga County Recovery Court told Scene this week that "1.5 people" are dying each day from overdose deaths, and the numbers are only climbing. 

Of particular concern are the increased instances of drug dealers cutting heroin with fentanyl — and not informing their customers. Generally speaking, fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin. Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson has reported that his office is seeing deaths stemming from fentanyl pills that look like oxycodone — something that the office hadn't seen before January.

There will be plenty of local representation on tomorrow's panel, too — including Project DAWN program coordinator Emily Metz — so it will be interesting to see how federal and local perspectives merge on future policy. 

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