One of Ohio’s most pressing problems is its opioid epidemic, which has been plaguing our state and devastating the lives of countless individuals and their loved ones. Addiction to opioids and other substances has dire consequences; sometimes even leading to death by drug overdose. Opioid addicts often turn to healthcare professionals such as prescribers and pharmacists for help; however, sometimes those struggling with addiction do not receive the proper care and treatment necessary to jumpstart a turnaround in their lives.

It is time to unite in this fight against prescription drug abuse and overdoses. Senate Bill 319, which recently passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Kasich, is a crucial piece of legislation aimed at revising laws relating to drugs. The bill contains an array of provisions that strengthens regulation and oversight regarding the distribution of controlled substances, but I will highlight a few that I find particularly critical and compelling.

Senate Bill 319 tightens the regulation and accountability of pharmacy technicians through an extensive registration process with the Board of Pharmacy. Previously, pharmacy technicians were not registered in Ohio, which allowed significant loopholes leading to egregious amounts of drug theft. The bill also toughens the consequences for pharmacists and pharmacy interns who engage in unprofessional conduct in the practice of pharmacy. Importantly, the bill institutes revamped guidelines pertaining to selling, purchasing, distributing, delivering, or possessing dangerous drugs.  

The legislation, however, is not just about strict oversight and discipline. Rather, it also encompasses vital preventative and restorative measures. The bill allows naloxone, an overdose antidote, to be accessible at places serving individuals who may be at risk of an opioid-related overdose—strategic locations such as schools, homeless shelters, and treatment centers. Furthermore, medication-assisted treatment services, including access to time-limited recovery supports, will be available to certain addicted offenders in order to place them on a path toward recovery. 

I recognize the gravity of opioid abuse and overdose, as well as the troubling reality of the issue right here in Ohio. That is why I am proud to have supported this bill that further provides the direction and regulation required to continue tackling this widespread epidemic. Everyone, from legislators to pharmacists, must join together to take a stand in this fight. Only then do we have a chance to defeat prescription and illicit drug abuse within our communities while restoring health and healing to our state.  


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