Dayton Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley has announced a plan to implement a nickel per dose surcharge on opioid distributors once she’s elected governor of Ohiom, a press release last week said.

“We know who’s responsible for the heroin crisis and in a Whaley administration, opioid manufacturers will pay to clean up the mess they’ve created in our state,” Whaley said. “With the dollars we’ll collect with the nickel per dose surcharge, we can begin to restore vital public safety services to the communities on the front lines fighting this epidemic.”

In 2016, the State Board of Pharmacy reported that 631 million doses of opioids were distributed across the state. Under Whaley’s plan, the state would collect approximately $31.5 million annually, the release said.

“While the drug companies set into motion this epidemic overnight, families, employers and communities will be dealing with the consequences for a generation,” Whaley continued. “With this nickel per dose surcharge, we will establish a sustainable funding source to start repairing the damage across Ohio.”

Under Whaley’s proposal, along with providing funding for public safety services ($12M), the new resources will focus on treating victims of opioid addiction by doubling the state’s biennial support of substance abuse stabilization centers and treatment facilities ($12M) and mental health crisis stabilization centers in the state’s psychiatric hospitals ($3M), the release said.

Whaley’s announcement follows the recent 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation exposing a successful effort by Congress to weaken the DEA’s ability to crack down on drug distributors from delivering obscene quantities of opioids. Her plan will allow the state to finally take the lead on addressing the heroin epidemic.

“We can’t sit around and wait on the feds – giving us lip service and not taking action,” Whaley said. “After all, the President’s grand idea for a Drug Czar was the same congressman who led the effort to gut the DEA. It’s obvious the President doesn’t understand what this crisis is doing to our communities, what it’s doing to our families and what it’s doing to our workforce.”

Whaley remains committed to ending the heroin epidemic in Ohio with a comprehensive plan that brings justice our communities and holds the big drug companies accountable, the release said. It noted that in June, Dayton was the first city in Ohio and fourth in the nation to sue the big drug companies, distributors and doctors responsible for this opioid crisis.

“This is the first step,” concluded Whaley. “As mayor, I’ve had to work on this issue every single day. And I know, as Governor, I’ll have to do the same.”