COLUMBUS - 

Opiate addiction is an epidemic in Ohio. Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in our state, having surpassed car accidents in 2007. My colleagues and I in the Ohio House of Representatives are working hard to address this deadly issue so that we can curb drug abuse in our state and prevent more of our neighbors from losing their lives.


The seriousness of this problem cannot be overstated. Prescription opioids are associated with more fatal overdoses than any other prescription or illegal drug, including heroin, combined. Between 2000 and 2012, Ohio’s death rate resulting from unintentional drug poisonings increased by 366 percent.


Medina County is not immune from the effects of opiate addiction. According to the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, in Medina County alone, there are enough opiates to provide 54 doses to every resident. The wide availability of these drugs puts our children at risk. More than one in every five Ohio high school students reported using a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription at least once.


However, there is reason to have hope. Great people and organizations in our community are working to fight opiate addiction. For example, Alternative Paths is a private, nonprofit outpatient diversion program that provides drug counseling to adults in the Medina County area. By coming together as a community, we can work to raise awareness of this problem and help our neighbors who suffer from addiction.


Addiction is a complex issue, and there is not a single solution to fixing this problem. In recent years, the General Assembly has passed important legislation to combat the abuse of these addictive substances, but there is still much progress to be made. In the short-term, one of the important steps we can take to reduce the number of opiate-related deaths is to expand access to the drug naloxone, which can counter the effects of an opioid overdose. House Bill 4, sponsored by my colleagues Representatives Robert Sprague and Jeff Rezabek, will relax the restrictions on who can dispense this lifesaving medication to those who need it.


As your state representative, I will continue to take the issue of opiate addiction in Ohio very seriously. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about this problem, I encourage you to contact my office. It is important for us to work together to fight this epidemic.

 
 
 
  
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