Legislation To Prevent Drug Addiction
By Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay)

Since 2007, drug overdose has become the greatest cause of accidental death in Ohio. The growing prescription drug epidemic plaguing our state has no boundaries and currently affects almost every community throughout Ohio. As the Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Committee traveled to Hardin County and around the state, we heard over 80 testimonies that resulted in our three prong approach to fight the opioid epidemic:

1. Prevent more people from becoming addicted by reducing the amount of opioids being prescribed through the medical system

2. Keep the current addicted population alive while stopping the diversion of medications

3. Get more people into effective treatment

House Bill 314 requires the consent of a parent or guardian before a doctor can prescribe an opioid to a minor, except in certain emergency situations. This bill will allow parents to have oversight on what their children are taking, hopefully preventing new addictions.

House Bill 359 requires prescribers to provide an information sheet, created by the director of the Department of Health, to any patient being prescribed a schedule II substance or any drug containing an opioid. The information sheet will disclose the addictive nature of the drug, informing patients of the dangerous properties of the drugs.

House Bill 367 will require all school districts to include a curriculum about opioids. This addition to our current curriculum will inform students on how dangerous and addictive opioids are.

Our state has one of the most advanced prescription monitoring programs in existence. The Pharmacy Board’s Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) is used by prescribers and pharmacists to determine what drugs a patient is currently using at any given time. House Bill 341 requires medical professionals to utilize the OARRS system before prescribing or dispensing a schedule II substance or a drug containing an opioid.

House Bill 332 will require the use of certain standards when prescribers are treating chronic, non-cancer pain with an opioid.

House Bill 366 will establish procedures within the hospice setting to prevent diversion. An individual will have to be responsible for the controlled substances, the substances will have to be locked up, detailed records of the medications will have to be kept, and the hospice will be required to dispose of medications when they are no longer needed.

House Bill 381 will require everyone who picks up a prescription to present an acceptable form of identification. This piece of legislation will not stop a friend or family member from picking up a prescription, but will simply create accountability after prescriptions are dispensed.

A bill will be introduced that will require all 30-day prescriptions for acute pain (not long-term pain) to be filled in 10-day increments. This bill will lower the amount of medications that are sitting in medicine cabinets and not being used, preventing diversion.

House Bill 363 will create a Good Samaritan law in Ohio. Most opioid drug overdose deaths happen in the presence of other people and this bill will provide immunity from arrest, prosecution, conviction, or supervised release sanctioning for a minor drug possession offense for a person who seeks or obtains medical assistance for someone who is experiencing a medical emergency as a result of ingesting a dangerous substance.

House Bill 378 will implement a prescriber certification process and require the integration of addiction treatment services when a prescriber treats an opioid addicted patient with addiction treatment medication.

HB 369 will establish an integrated, full spectrum of opioid treatment (ambulatory detoxification, residential treatment services, medication-assisted treatment, intensive outpatient therapy, outpatient therapy, 12-step approaches, and peer mentoring) in every county in Ohio. It also requires Medicaid and private insurers to cover all of the treatment services in the full spectrum of care. The bill will make a substantial $180 million investment in recovery housing in counties that are missing this vital, final component of successful treatment. Finally, it makes an investment of $9 million per year to pay for case managers in drug courts, which are very effective in helping defendants through recovery.

HB 315 will require hospitals to report the number of newborns dependent on opioids, which will act as a measurement that we can use to see if progress is being made against addiction.

The societal cost of the drug overdose epidemic is estimated to be over $3.5 billion annually in Ohio. We need to get in front of this problem, instead of chasing it from behind. If you have any comments or need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

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