FACT CHECK: Strickland Increased Funding For Drug Abuse Prevention Efforts, Portman Bragged About Drug Abuse Bill He Voted Against Funding

COLUMBUS, OH –– After Senator Portman was caught bragging about a drug abuse prevention bill he voted against funding, he’s out with a false ad attacking Ted Strickland –– but here are the facts: Strickland increased funding for drug abuse prevention and mental health and tackled the scourge of drug abuse through prevention, treatment and enforcement.

From David Bergstein, Strickland Campaign Spokesman: “This ad is equal parts false, desperate and pathetic, especially given Senator Portman’s own record: Portman was caught bragging about a drug abuse prevention bill he voted against funding, in Congress he’s voted to cut drug abuse prevention funding by millions, and as Budget Director Portman proposed slashing these efforts by even more. As governor, Ted tackled the scourge of drug abuse through prevention, treatment and enforcement –– increasing funding, starting the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, and educating  thousands of Ohioans about the dangers of drug abuse. It is unfortunate that Senator Portman would try to twist the facts about an issue as serious as drug abuse in order to boost his political ambitions –– that’s exactly the kind of behavior Ohioans hate about Washington politicians.”

See the facts for yourself: 

False Claim: Strickland slashed mental health services and drug abuse prevention efforts

FACT: Strickland increased funding for mental health services and drug abuse prevention efforts and tackled the scourge of drug abuse through prevention, treatment and enforcement.  

  • Morning Consult: As governor Strickland increased funding for drug abuse prevention efforts by millions.Strickland also increased funding for the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services by 4 percent between 2007 and 2011, from about $181.3 million to $188.7 million.” [Morning Consult, 6/2/16]

  • Strickland Increased Funding For The Department Of Alcohol And Drug Addiction Services By $7 Million, Or 4 Percent. Over his tenure as Governor, Strickland increased funding for the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services by 4 percent, or $7.4 million.

[Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 08-09 Budget, 12/12/07; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 10-11 Budget, 9/22/09]

  • Strickland Increased Funding For The Department Of Mental Health By $86 Million, Or 8.5 Percent. Over his tenure as governor, Strickland increased funding for the Department of Mental Health by $86 million, or 8.5 percent.

[Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 08-09 Budget, 12/12/07; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 10-11 Budget, 9/22/09]

  • Strickland Signed Executive Order Creating The Ohio Prescription Drug Task Force, Which Produced 20 Comprehensive Recommendations To Combat Prescription Drug Abuse. “On April 2, 2010, Governor Ted Strickland signed Executive Order 2010-4S, establishing the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force (the ‘Task Force’). The Task Force was created to develop a coordinated and comprehensive approach to Ohio’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. The group was comprised of 33 members with a wide range of professional backgrounds and perspectives, including: state and local public health officials, health provider board and association representatives, state and local law enforcement, local government officials, state agency representatives and legislators. The Task Force was charged with meeting regularly to develop and recommend potential remedies to the growing misuse and abuse of prescription drugs in Ohio. Due to the urgency of this problem, the Task Force was required to submit an initial progress report to the Governor and the leaders of the Ohio General Assembly by May 17, 2010. The progress report included initial recommendations encouraging support for community education efforts (i.e. drug take back programs and social marketing campaigns) and charged the Task Force Work Groups to explore and identify potential solutions for the Task Force Final Report.” [Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force Report, 10/1/10]

  • Columbus Dispatch: Strickland “Launched Efforts To Crack Down On Prescription-Drug Abuse.” “The administrations of Gov. John Kasich and former Gov. Ted Strickland -- plus Attorney General Mike DeWine -- launched efforts to crack down on prescription-drug abuse, which is costing more lives in Ohio each year than automobile accidents do.” [Columbus Dispatch, 3/5/11]

  • MedCity News Headline: “Ohio Gov. Strickland Goes After Illegal Prescription Drug Business.” “Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed an executive order Friday morning creating the Ohio Prescription Drug Task Force–a group that will include doctors and pharmacists from which he hopes to begin getting answers in six weeks on how to manage the state’s growing problem. The order expands the state’s role and establishes a more comprehensive, coordinated approach to combating prescription drug abuse in Ohio, the governor’s office said in a release.” [MedCity News,4/2/10]

  • Strickland Set Aside $250,000 In Grants To Combat The Fraudulent Prescription And Sale Of Pain Medication. “Strickland said he supports legitimate pain clinics and other legal means that provide addictive medications to patients. He called on the state’s doctors and pharmacists to check the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System–a prescription tracking database–every time they prescribe or dispense pain medications. Rather, Strickland wants to target illegitimate pain clinics, professionals who fraudulently prescribe pain medication, and people who fraudulently buy and resell. He announced a $250,000 set aside of Justice Assistance Grants for law enforcement to expand or improve their efforts.” [MedCity News, 4/2/10]

  • Republican State Rep. Terry Johnson: “Strickland's [Prescription Drug] Task Force Did Some Good Work.” “He was flanked at the conference table with state Rep.-elect Dr. Terry Johnson of Scioto County and state legislators Danny Bubp and Jimmy Stewart. […] Johnson agreed. ‘Strickland's task force did some good work and we will use that as a springboard to move forward,’ he said.” [Portsmouth Daily Times, 12/23/10] 

  • Journalist Studying Drug Addiction Lauded Strickland’s Work On Drug Addiction As Governor. “Although there is much to be done yet in Ohio, Quinones views the state as a leader. He credits both Gov. John Kasich and former Gov. Ted Strickland, along with various public employees, including police, treatment providers and coroners, for the positive direction. He's most critical of drug manufacturers.” [Chillicothe Gazette, 10/15/15]

FACT: Portman bragged about a drug abuse prevention bill he voted against funding, slashed hundreds of millions from drug abuse prevention efforts, and voted against additional funding to tackle the scourge of drug abuse.

  • Cleveland.com: Portman touted anti-heroin and opioid abuse bill, but voted against its funding. Cleveland.com wrote that Portman “voted against the very bill that would pay for his proposed solutions… Portman aides confirmed to Cleveland.com that money for fighting heroin addiction would come from the $1.1 trillion spending bill Congress passed in December, a measure thatPortman denounced as wasteful and likely to drive up deficits. This puts the Ohio Republican in an awkward position.”

  • Akron Beacon Journal: As Office of Management and Budget Director, Portman slashed drug abuse funding. A report from the Akron Beacon Journal revealed that as OMB Director his budget proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to substance abuse programs. [Akron Beacon Journal,2/4/16]

  • A recently released analysis shows that Portman voted to cut important programs for addressing the crisis by more than $800 million. The calculations of the analysis come from the FY13 and FY14 Ryan budgets, both of which Portman voted for.

  • Dec. 2015: Portman Voted Against Expanding Coverage For Addiction Treatment, Increasing Resources For Substance Abuse Prevention And Treatment. [CQ, 12/3/15; S.Amdt. 2892 to S.Amdt. 2874 to H.R. 3762, Vote 317, 12/3/15]

  • The Measure Expanded Efforts To Combat Heroin And Opioid Abuse. “This morning, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor to announce an amendment that would ramp-up the federal government’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic.” [Office Of Sen. Shaheen Press Release, 12/3/15] 

  • Shaheen: Amendment “Provides Over $15 Billion Of Needed Funding To States And Municipalities” Including Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grants. [Congressional Record, Senate Floor, 12/3/15] 

The Measure Was Paid For By Ending Tax Breaks For Millionaires And Corporate Offshoring. “Senator Shaheen’s amendment is fully paid-for by enacting the Buffett Rule, preventing corporations from moving offshore to avoid paying taxes, and closing tax loopholes that allow corporations to write-off executive bonuses.” [Office Of Sen. Shaheen Press Release, 12/3/15]

  • Ohio leaders spoke out against Portman’s record of opposing funding to combat the heroin epidemic. The Chillicothe Gazette wrote, “Democrats, including Chillicothe's mayor, slammed Sen. Rob Portman's record on drug abuse funding Friday, saying his rhetoric doesn't match his congressional votes… ‘Rob Portman talks about the challenge of drug abuse and brags about his efforts, but then he votes against funding to actually help solve the problem,’ said Ohio Democratic Party Executive Director Greg Beswick.” 

What They’re Saying About Portman’s Drug Abuse Prevention Bill:

  • Fortune Headline: “Congress Finally Passed A Major But Pointless Law To Fight Opioid Addiction.” “There’s just one problem: the bill doesn’t actually fund any of these programs. Obama has repeatedly called for $1.1 billion in funding for anti-opioid efforts, but congressional Republicans refused to include the money in the bill.”[Fortune, 7/14/16]

  • Cleveland.com: CARA “Doesn’t Actually Provide The Money.” “The bill that passed today says the government is authorized to do all of the things mentioned above and more, at a cost of $181 million a year over the next five years.  It doesn't actually provide the money.” [Cleveland.com, 7/13/16]

  • Columbus Dispatch Headline: “Portman's Drug Bill ‘Falls Far Short,’ Obama Administration Says.” “A statement from the White House said Portman's legislation ‘falls far short’ of critical needs to attack the problem, largely because it authorizes but does not appropriate money for programs.” [Columbus Dispatch, 7/14/16]

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