In recent years, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has sponsored National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which serves to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible method to dispose of prescription drugs. The 13th occurrence of this event will take place this year on Saturday, April 29th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Within the 5th Ohio House District, there will be two locations at which you can dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs—the East Liverpool City Hospital Main Entrance (425 W. Fifth Street) or the Salem Regional Medical Center Professional Services Building (2094 E. State Street).

In Ohio, our communities have been struggling to get a grasp on the heroin and opioid epidemic that is plaguing our families. It is a disease that does not discriminate—it affects people of any gender, race, age, or socioeconomic status. To eliminate this threat to our public health, the state legislature has enacted a number of reforms over the past several years, from cracking down on pill mills to enhancing access to recovery centers for the addicted.

In much of the research done on the causes of and solutions to curb this public affliction, many make the connection between an overabundance of prescription pain medicine and illegal opioids like heroin. Years ago, pill mills—operations in which a doctor or clinic dispenses narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose—became a crucial concern in our state. Through the passage of House Bill 93 in the 129th General Assembly, the state was able to shut down illegal pain clinics that took advantage of citizens, fueling the opioid crisis.

After that shut down, more work had to be done. The state has issued guidelines to prescribers, bridging the gap between managing chronic pain without narcotics and getting patients access to the medication they need. We’ve also made reforms to improve the system through which doctors and pharmacists report and record the prescribing of opioids, an effort that has cut down on “doctor shopping,” the tactic of visiting multiple different doctors to procure multiple prescriptions for narcotics to sell.

In the legislature, we have made it a priority to restructure the relationship between doctor and patient to eliminate an overabundance of narcotics in our communities, while also treating pain with different types of therapy. I believe we have made great strides in doing just that, but we need your help too. If you have extra and unused prescription drugs in your household, which risk being stolen or abused, I encourage you to participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. In 2016, Ohioans disposed of approximately 14 tons of prescription drugs, demonstrating the immense success of this event, and it is my hope that it can be a success yet again this year.

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Representative Ginter Sworn In As State Representative Of The 5th House District

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State Representative Tim Ginter (R-Salem) was sworn in yesterday as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 132nd General Assembly. He represents the 5th Ohio House District, which comprises all of Columbiana County, for a second term.