Congressman Tim Ryan Calls on Governor Kasich to Increase Drug Chemistry Unit Lab Funding

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan called on Governor John Kasich to increase funding for Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Drug Chemistry Laboratories. BCI’s labs need additional resources to help expedite drug testing and clear state backlogs. This is an integral part of holding drug traffickers accountable, and keeping them, and their products, out of our communities.

“Many law enforcement officers are confronting devastating scenes of overdose on a regular basis, and are saving lives everyday with naloxone. These men and women should be commended for their work on the front lines of this crisis. Last week I held a roundtable conversation with local officials to continue to make sure we're tackling the addiction crisis the best we can. It became clear over the course of that conversation that helping to clear these drug lab backlogs are an important step for our local law enforcement to successfully combat the availability of these drugs in our communities,” said Congressman Ryan.

The letter can be found here, With the full text provided below:

###

November 30, 2017

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Dear Governor Kasich:

Ohio’s opioid epidemic has continued to worsen over the past year with fentanyl and carfentanil becoming more commonplace throughout our state. As you are aware, overdose deaths increased from 3,050 in 2015 to 4,050 last year, due to increased fentanyl use. As Governor, I applaud your efforts to curb the opioid epidemic. However, there is no question that we can all be doing more to help our local communities respond to this challenging and overwhelming crisis.

I have heard repeatedly from local law enforcement in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District about their frustrations and concerns regarding the delays at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Laboratory Division crime labs in performing drugs tests. I understand that demand continues to increase with the BCI expecting more than 27,000 drugs tests this year, nearly double the number of tests conducted in 2010. The increase in chemistry cases and the complexity of the substances cause long backlogs that prevent the results from being returned to local communities in a timely manner. These delays make it harder to quickly move cases through the judicial system and get dangerous drugs off the market. 

Ohio BCI’s labs need additional resources to help expedite drug testing and clear state backlogs. While I was encouraged by your most recent budget increase for the BCI, the constant delays show that more funding and attention to this problem is needed. It is imperative that we not only decrease the number of drugs available, but also hold traffickers responsible. I appreciate your attention to this important issue and urge you to increase funding for Ohio’s BCI Laboratory Division.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to working with you on this proposal in the future.

Sincerely,

Tim Ryan
Member of Congress