State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) yesterday introduced legislation to ensure that Ohio's drug abuse laws appropriately reflect the potency of fentanyl and address its growing prevalence in overdose deaths.

"The alarming number of recent fentanyl related deaths is a serious concern," said LaRose. "This legislation has the potential to save lives by getting these highly potent drugs off our streets."

Fentanyl, a drug typically prescribed in clinical settings, is used as a powerful synthetic opiate to treat or manage pain after surgery. In some instances, the drug is prescribed to treat patients with chronic pain who are tolerant of other opiates. 

In 2014, fentanyl overdoses resulted in 502 deaths, according to preliminary data from the Ohio Department of Health. This number is nearly 6 times higher than the previous year. 

The legislation would change what constitutes a “bulk amount” in order to adequately recognize the seriousness of the illegal use and trafficking of fentanyl. The bill establishes that five milligrams or more of fentanyl or an amount equal to or exceeding one gram of a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that contains any amount of fentanyl and that is not in a final dosage form manufactured by an authorized manufacturer constitutes a bulk amount for the purposes of drug offense laws. 

The bill also harmonizes state law with federal law by adding lisdexamfetamine to the Ohio schedule of controlled substances. Lisdexamfetamine is used to treat ADHD and hyperactivity and is at a high risk of being abused, especially in juveniles.

Senate Bill 237 will now be referred to a Senate committee where it will receive consideration. The bill is available online at

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