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Ohio to Dedicate $20 Million to Opioid Research

During the Ohio governor’s annual State of the State Address, one issue received significant attention, and with it, additional research funding. The state’s battle to combat opioid addiction was singled out by the governor for $20 million to be funded by the state’s Third Frontier program. The dollars will be allocated for research, particularly in new technologies to combat pain and relieve the effects of opioid withdrawal.

Ohio has one of the highest death rates from drug overdose in the country with 29.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. As a result, officials from the administration and lawmakers have indicated that other efforts to combat opioid addiction and overdoses will not be impacted by looming budget cuts.

“I’m asking the Third Frontier Commission to provide up to $20 million to help bring new scientific breakthroughs to the battle against drug abuse and addiction. They’re targeting existing, proven ideas and bring an extra push to be brought to the fight,” Gov. Kasich said during his State of the State Address. “Ideas like using a simple device that connects to someone’s ear that can relieve pain and it blocks the effects of opiate withdrawal. You see, if you talk to the experts now, there are things that can work with the brain. If we can research and push — that’s why we’re going to spend $20 million.”

The Third Frontier was created in 2002 by former Gov. Bob Taft and funded through $2 billion in state bonded dollars. Ohio voters approved these bonds twice, first in 2005 then again in 2010. The Third Frontier Commission is governed by an 11-member commission made up of appointees of the governor with investments focused on technology and business research efforts.

The $20 million for opioid research will be fairly unique to other types of projects funded by Third Frontier. To see a list of previous projects award by the Third Frontier Commission, or to learn more about the Third Frontier click here.



About this Author

James W. Sheppard III, Barnes Thornburg, Education Department Lawyer, Public Pensions Funds Attorney

James W. Sheppard III is an associate in Barnes & Thornburg’s Columbus office and is a member of the Government Services and Finance Department.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Mr. Sheppard was the chief of staff for the Ohio Department of Education where he directed the activities of the department’s policy, legal, legislative, and communications offices, among others. He served as a liaison to the State Board of Education, the governor’s office, General Assembly and professional associations representing the State Superintendent...