State Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) announces that his bipartisan legislation providing a solution in addressing the opioid crisis recently passed unanimously out of the Ohio House Health Committee. House Bill 193 requires Schedule II prescriptions to be done electronically, except under certain circumstances. Cutrona is the sponsor of the bill.
“I’m very pleased that after many in-depth discussions on this bill that it has been approved by the House Health Committee and will be on its way to the House floor,” said Cutrona. “One of my key priorities that I ran on was addressing the opioid crisis, now more than ever with the pandemic, it’s something that we need to call immediate attention to now.”
Cutrona, as the Chief Operating Officer for an infectious disease medical practice in Mahoning County, has previously cited a personal experience with this issue as having been on the receiving end of a call from a pharmacy asking if one of his doctors had written a suspicious script for a Schedule II drug. The representative acknowledges the fraudulent script was caught and the prescription was not given, but the question remains as to what would have been done with that prescription if the pharmacist at the counter had not noticed.
Under the legislation, Schedule II drugs will have to be prescribed through electronic means, except in certain circumstances. This will help reduce situations where individuals try to obtain Schedule II drugs from pharmacies with stolen or fraudulent scripts. Additionally, the bill provides a safe harbor provision for pharmacists.
Cutrona notes that nearly half the states around the country have enacted mandatory e-prescribing of Scheduled II drugs. Due to this, it would give Ohio the ability to connect with those states and learn what has worked and what modifications might need to be made.
In total, House Bill 193 within the Ohio House Health Committee had five committee hearings with several organization testimonies before being approved this past week.
According to the American Medical Association, several reports have indicated a significant rise in opioid deaths of Ohioans with the likely cause being effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to sponsoring House Bill 193, Cutrona is also cosponsoring upcoming legislation known as the Comprehensive Ohio Drug Addiction Solution (CODAS).
The legislation intends to closely follow the previous CODAS bill introduced during the previous general assembly. This would include language that establishes certain treatment facilities and outlines changes regarding certain drug penalties and offenses.
“The opioid epidemic was subsiding before the pandemic, but with COVID-19, data has shown that it has heightened opioid overdose deaths throughout the state,” Cutrona added. “It’s important we bring in many stakeholders to seek comprehensive and innovative solutions to help our communities being plagued by this crisis.”