Ohio’s opioid epidemic is a devastating reality for far too many of our citizens and communities. Addiction to opioids not only affects the individuals involved but also their loved ones—parents, children, spouses, friends—in painful ways. It is crucial that we work on ensuring that the dispensation of painkiller medications is continually held to a high standard by working with our pharmacists and prescribers. As legislators, it is necessary that we work to curb the illicit administration of controlled substances. Just as significantly, those battling addiction often fail to receive the proper treatment and care they desperately need, another issue we must address.


It is imperative that we take up this cause and continue to fight until drug abuse is eliminated from our state. Senate Bill 319, passed and signed during the 131st General Assembly, is a significant step in the right direction. The legislation revises a number of pertinent laws related to substance abuse, and its various provisions serve to tighten the regulation and oversight of drug administration and distribution.


In the past, the absence of an extensive registration process in Ohio for pharmacy technicians made it far too easy for shocking amounts of drug theft to occur. One critical component of Senate Bill 319 strengthens the level of regulation and accountability of pharmacy technicians by requiring them to register with the Board of Pharmacy. The bill also mandates more severe disciplinary measures for pharmacists and pharmacy interns who take part in unprofessional conduct in the practice of pharmacy, and it revises the rules for selling, purchasing, distributing, delivering, or possessing dangerous drugs.


The bill also seeks to extend a helping hand to those dealing with an isolating and destructive addiction to opioids. Medication-assisted treatment services, including access to time-limited recovery supports, will be made available to certain addicted offenders. Furthermore, individuals who are prone to an opioid-related overdose will be able to obtain naloxone, an overdose antidote, at places such as homeless shelters, treatment centers, and schools. Strict oversight regarding this epidemic is imperative, but so is placing addicts on a path toward freedom and recovery.


I am proud to have supported Senate Bill 319, a crucial piece of legislation that provides us with further guidance to prevail over this pressing issue. Countless Ohioans, both the addicted and their loved ones, are suffering from this widespread epidemic, and it is high time that all of us band together to fight it for as long as it takes. We have more work ahead, but I trust that the implementation of this bill will bring us a bit closer toward our goal of health, healing, and restoration in our great state.

 
 
 
  
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