Columbus, Ohio – When JD Vance He founded Renew Ohio the day after the 2016 presidential election, and he promoted the charity as a way to help solve the scourge of opioid addiction he lamented in his bestselling memoir, Hillbilly Elijah.
But Vance closed the nonprofit last year and founded it in May, shortly after The Republican Party’s nomination for the US Senate has been decidedAccording to state records reviewed by The Associated Press. An Associated Press review found that the charity’s most notable achievement — sending an addiction specialist to the Appalachian region of Ohio for a year’s residency — was marred by the relationships between the doctor and the institute that hired her and Purdue Pharmathe manufacturer of OxyContin.
Ohio’s slowdown and lack of tangible success raises questions about Vance’s management of the enterprise. His decision to bring Dr.. Sally Satell It calls for special scrutiny. She’s a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute whose writing questioning the role of prescription pain relievers in the national opioid crisis was published in The New York Times and elsewhere before she began her residency in the fall of 2018.
Documents and emails Acquired by ProPublica for a 2019 investigation It found that Sattle, a senior fellow at the AEI, sometimes cited Purdue-funded studies and clinicians in her articles on addiction for major news outlets and sometimes shared drafts of pieces with Purdue officials in advance, including on occasions in 2004 and 2016 years, according to the report. AEI has received $50,000 in regular donations and other financial support from Purdue totaling $800,000.
Herb Usher, a longtime political observer in Ohio, called the charity’s flaws, including Sattle’s ties to Big Pharma, “betrayal.”
“A person constitutes a charitable organization apparently to do good things, so when, for whatever reason, they do not, it is treason,” said Asher, professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University. “This is something voters can spin around.”
Vance’s campaign said the nonprofit was temporarily suspended during the Senate election led by Vance against Democratic Representative Tim Ryan. She also said that Vance was unaware of Satil’s relationship with Purdue when she was chosen to stay.
“JD didn’t know at the time, but she continues to be proud of her work treating patients, especially those in the Ohio area who need it most,” the campaign said in a statement.
In an email to the AP this week, Sattle said she had “never consulted” or “taken a cent from Purdue” and that she did not know Purdue had donated money to the AEI because the institute maintains a firewall between its scientists and donors. She said she relies “totally on my own experience as a psychiatrist and/or data to form my opinions.”
AEI spokeswoman Phoebe Keeler said the institute’s scholars “have the academic freedom to pursue their research and conclusions without interference from management.”
Purdue Pharma did not respond to a letter seeking comment.
Vance has described Ohio’s Renewal Mission variously over the years as “bringing interesting new work to the so-called Rust Belt,” “to fill some treatment gaps (in the region) in mental health” and “to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio.”
He has acknowledged at some points that the charity has not fulfilled his vision, though he has recently indicated that it remains active – including including himself in this week’s financial disclosure as the “honorary president” of the abolished organization.
In his book, Vance recounts the hardships and heartbreaks he and his family experienced as a result of his mother’s battle with drug addiction, which ravaged the Appalachian regions of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia when the 38-year-old was growing up. I used both OxyContin and heroin.
Ohio remains one of the states hardest hit by fatal drug overdoses, with about 14 people dying every day, according to the latest statistics.
Vance expressed hope in media interviews about when Sattle arrived in Ironton, Ohio, in September 2018, that she would use her expertise to develop better addiction treatment methods that could be “scaled up nationally” or perhaps to produce a “paper or book-length publication” He details his findings, she hasn’t done either yet.
“I’m working on a book,” Satell told the Associated Press in an email exchange this week, nearly three years after ending her residency.
Gossett, chief executive of Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action, which helped oversee the nearly $70,000 Satell residency, said she “helped people who were struggling in southern Ohio” and “to this day, people are grateful to have her.” This included treating an unspecified number of patients in an area long labeled as a health care shortage area and what Gossett described as “community planning efforts.”
After the residency ended, Sattle’s public observations indicated that she remained as convinced as ever that addiction stems from shared behavioral and environmental forces – not the documented over-prescribing and aggressive marketing of OxyContin and other opioids that ultimately helped families, state, local, and tribal governments secure 6 Billions of dollars national settlement against Purdue in March.
“The data is quite clear that the decrease in opioid prescribing had no effect on the overall rate of opioid overdoses,” she said in an email to The Associated Press, blaming the increasing number of overdoses on heroin and fentanyl.
It is a familiar position for Satel, which has included opinion columns in national publications October 2004 Times articleDoctors behind bars: Treating pain is now a risky business Politico article February 2018“The Myth of What’s Driving the Opioid Crisis – Prescribed Painkillers Are Not the Biggest Threat” and March 2018 Slate articleBirth control pill limits are not a smart way to fight the opioid crisis.
There is no doubt that the area was targeted with prescription opioids in the early days of the epidemic, said Jack Fritsch, a senior resident executive at Ohio State University who has headed an Appalachian Ohio welfare agency for more than 30 years. He said the path to heroin and fentanyl addiction for many residents “began with the overabundance of easily accessible pain medications.”
Ryan and his allies are already targeting our Ohio renovation in TV advertising, citing recent Business Insider reports that have raised questions about the charity’s payments to Vance’s political advisor and public opinion polls.
A year after Satel finished her residency, a friend emailed Vance in October 2020 to express his concern that Satel was spearheading an AEI event on the origins of the US opioid crisis “without a banner mentioning how much money AEI is getting from Purdue Pharma.”
Yes. Vance replied, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Associated Press. “I have a slight affiliation with the AEI. Thinking dropping it because of this and other things.” He did. Keeler, an AEI spokesperson, said Vance finished his non-resident fellowship at the institute that year and did not renew the affiliation.
Medical professionals and others on the front lines of the drug crisis say the scourge of addiction in the Appalachian region still needs advocates.
“There’s definitely still a big problem,” said Trisha Ferrar, director of the Lancaster Recovery Center, on the fringes of Appalachian Ohio. “Things are very difficult and sick people are facing a lot of challenges. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world now and that kind of addition to that.”
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