Just recently, the Ohio House passed legislation that would require a prescriber to receive a signed form of consent from the parent or guardian of a minor before issuing that minor a prescription for a controlled substance. This legislation, House Bill 314, is just one of many bills that House has been considering on the issue of Ohio’s opiate epidemic.
These controlled substances are highly addictive, ruining the lives of many people who never meant to put themselves in that situation. The abuse of prescription drugs can also lead to additional problems such as the eventual addiction to heroine. It’s not only an issue affecting those who are prescribed the drugs, but also their family and other loved ones.
To help stop the growth of prescription drug addiction and other related problems, the House set up a study committee last summer to hold hearings around the state and learn more about why this is happening. They heard from many people, including former patients, judges, law enforcement officers, and others. We are now taking what we learned from those hearings and developing new legislation.
Based on the study committee’s findings, nearly a dozen bills have been introduced to help prevent prescription drug abuse while getting Ohioans the pain treatment that they need. Most of the bills are administrative in nature, but all of them revolve around a three-prong approach to curbing the opioid epidemic. These are to prevent more people from becoming addicted by reducing the amount of opioids prescribed, keeping the current addicted population alive and keeping drugs from being diverted to misuse, and getting more people into effective treatment.
Some of the changes are as simple as to change school curriculums to include opioid information. Many have to do with the processes and practices that prescribers of the drugs face on a daily basis, as well as pharmacists. Others, such as having 30-day prescriptions filled in 10-day increments and showing acceptable identification to pick up a prescription, will be even simpler solutions. There are also bills dealing with Good Samaritan and immunity laws, as well as a bill helping us to measure the epidemic and track its trends.
Drug overdoses have become the greatest cause of accidental death in Ohio since 2007. By implementing a variety of changes through this legislation, we can help prevent drug abuse and saves more lives.