It is no secret that in recent months there has been an increase in scrutiny of opioid prescriptions across Ohio and the nation. Amidst the revelation of how easily pain can be treated with just a couple pills, the highly addictive nature of these powerful opioids was overlooked. Now we are faced with a significantly higher drug overdose death toll in Ohio. It has become clear that the time to act is now so more Ohioans do not fall victim to these elusive drugs.



The Ohio Legislature has been working hard over the past three years to battle opioid addiction, which is having a devastating impact on our community. In 2013 the Ohio House spearheaded a committee tasked with researching the impact of the opioid crisis, and to issue a series of recommendations for combatting the growing addiction. Since then, the legislature has passed a number of bills to reduce opioid addiction, including legislation requiring parental consent before prescribing opioids to a minor as well as increased funding for community programs such as the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program.



The latest legislation to become effective that combats opioid addiction is House Bill 4. This bill expands access to an overdose reversal drug known as naloxone, which is already credited with saving thousands of Ohioans’ lives since the legislature passed a bill allowing EMS personnel to carry and administer the drug. House Bill 4 extends access to the drug by allowing doctors to supply the drug directly to the patient and allowing pharmacists to give the drug to a victim, or their loved one, without a prescription. In response to passage of this legislation, CVS recently announced that it will begin to sell this overdose antidote in its Ohio pharmacies. 



In addition to opioid legislation, the Ohio Legislature also passed a bill to protect our youngest generations from the evils of drug abuse. House Bill 197, which was passed by the House in December, will prohibit the sale of over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan to anyone under the age of 18. This legislation comes in response to a popular trend among teens known as “robotripping,” which involves consuming an entire bottle of Robitussin, or other cough syrup, in order to reach a hallucinogenic “high.” This is a very dangerous practice with a number of negative consequences, including death. By requiring individuals to be 18 in order to purchase this drug, we are protecting our youth from abusing a drug they do not fully understand the consequences of.



As a legislature, we have enacted many beneficial changes that will help decrease drug abuse throughout our community. I am confident these provisions will go a long way in helping the families who have loved ones struggling with drug addiction, however there is still more to be done. We must remain diligent in our fight against opioids, and other harmful drugs, so they no longer have a presence on our streets.



As a legislator for the 95th House District, I will continue to help find a way for our community to thrive as a drug free environment. If you have any questions, comments or concerns on Ohio’s drug epidemic, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (614) 644-8728 or by emailing Rep95@ohiohouse.gov.

 
 
 
  
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