COLUMBUS— State Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) this week introduced legislation to establish August 31 as “Ohio Overdose Awareness Day.”
The intent of Senate Bill 351 is to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic in Ohio and remember the lives lost by requiring all state flags at public institutions to be displayed at half-staff every August 31.
“While I recognize we are navigating a new global health crisis with COVID-19, the lasting impact and complicated issues associated with opioids are still heavily present in both our state and country,” said Dolan. “Fortunately, a constituent recently emailed me advocating that Ohio should match the International Overdose Awareness Day of August 31st.”
During the past couple of years, Ohio has shown a decline in the total number of overdose-related deaths per year, however, it remains the leading cause of injury-related deaths since 2007. In 2018, over 3,000 Ohioans died of unintentional drug overdoses, which is the lowest number of deaths per year since 2015.
“While we are getting better, Ohio is still fifth in the nation in overdose deaths,” said Dolan.
The 133rd General Assembly made significant investments to support Ohioans struggling with substance use and mental health disorders by expanding recovery housing, investing in wrap-around services for K-12 students and increasing county crisis stabilization services.
“Although Senate Bill 351 most likely won’t pass by August 31st of this year, by introducing this bill, I hope to draw attention to both the International Overdose Awareness Day and the global opioid crisis.”
To learn more on this legislation click here.