COLUMBUS — Today, State Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) announces that his bipartisan legislation providing a solution in addressing the opioid crisis passed within the Ohio House. The legislation under House Bill 193, requires Schedule II prescriptions to be done electronically except under certain circumstances. Cutrona is a sponsor of the bill.
According to the American Medical Association, several reports have indicated a significant rise in opioid overdose deaths in Ohio with the likely cause being effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The opioid crisis is a serious issue and I’m glad we’re moving forward in advancing legislation that seeks to address it,” said Cutrona. “I’ve prioritized finding solutions to the opioid crisis. Now more than ever with the pandemic, we must come up with effective ways to resolve it and reduce these incidents from taking place.”
Cutrona, as a 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 had five hearings within the Ohio House Health Committee with several organization testimonies before being unanimously approved earlier this month.
“I’m happy to see that we’re moving forward with this innovative solution to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands,” Cutrona added.
House Bill 193 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.