COLUMBUS - 

The chairman of the Ohio House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Study Committee, Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), has begun to discuss details of the findings and recommendations recently released as part of the committee Chairman’s Report.


Through a series of regional hearings intended to elicit ideas and feedback from interested parties, the committee learned more about Ohio’s opioid use epidemic. Representative Sprague used the information to issue recommendations to address the problem plaguing Ohio.


“As a general assembly, we can take steps to fight this epidemic,” Chairman Sprague said. “First, we must strive to limit the amount of opioids being prescribed through our medical system, thereby slowing the rate of new people becoming addicted. Second, we need to prevent people who are already addicted from diverting more pills from the medical system. Third, we need to keep people alive even while they are consumed by the misery of their addiction in the hopes that they will eventually get treatment and recover. And forth, we need to integrate addiction treatment that is now practiced in medical silos, and fund our court system’s specialty dockets that are clearly providing success in getting people off opioids.”


The committee was able to point to specific actions of the Ohio General Assembly in the past that have been contributing factors to the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. These include the General Assembly’s Intractable Pain Act in 1998 and the adoption of pain as a fifth vital sign.


Examples of possible legislation in the report include creating a “Good Samaritan Law” for people to call 9-1-1 for someone who has overdosed without the fear of arrest, requiring 30-day pain prescriptions to be filled in 10-day increments, requiring the presentation of photo identification at the pharmacy for opioid prescriptions, requiring guardian consent of minors being prescribed controlled substances, changing the practices of pain treatment in the hospice setting, having all prescribers and pharmacists utilizing the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), and changing laws surrounding the use of buprenorphine.


Other ideas for preventing prescription drug abuse, as determined in the report, include preventing future addiction through various educational efforts and changing standards of care when prescribing and supplying opioids. The committee also offered recommendations such as improving treatment of existing addicts through expanding specialty court dockets, integrating treatment, and reforming Medicaid to cover key aspects of treatment. Ohio’s current criminal code and sentencing practices can also be changed in numerous ways, according to the report.


The Chairman's Report Can be downloaded at the link below.

 

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