Rep. Jay Edwards, R-94th District, visited the Ohio University College Democrats to introduce himself and speak about issues and bills currently in legislature.
Edwards said the opioid crisis is a crucial matter for Athens. He discussed in detail a new bill created to resolve the crisis, and commented about how doctors should be held accountable for the amount of opioids they prescribe. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of the expansion of treatment options included in the bill.
“I think that I have somewhat of a better understanding than some of these state representatives that point fingers or doesn’t realize that it is a disease,” Edwards, whose relative was affected by addiction, said.
Sam Miller, outgoing president of Ohio University College Democrats, asked Edwards how he felt about the issue of the foster care system and its connection to the increase in opioid overdoses. Edwards said he is working on a bill to streamline kinship adoptions. He also mentioned what the punishment would be for illegally using opioids, saying that he wants to create a parole-like atmosphere for users to prevent the problem.
The next point addressed was Gov. John Kasich’s textbook initiative, with Edwards expressing the importance of noting the bill’s other points such as the defunding of certain school systems.
This visit is part of Edwards’ initiative to visit his constituents in the 94th District. By gathering feedback, he hopes to get a better idea of local concerns and how he can address them.
“The biggest thing I’ve done since I’ve been there is just gone around and talking to every representative regardless of Republican or Democrat, and just try to shed light on some of the issues that we face in our area,” he said.