STATEHOUSE - 
On average, five people die every day from a drug overdose in Ohio, with prescription opioids accounting for more fatal overdoses than any other prescription or illegal drug (source: StartTalking.Ohio.gov).  Opioid abuse is a very real epidemic in our state that has driven a great deal of discussion at the local, state and federal levels and renewed efforts to save lives.  The Ohio General Assembly has passed numerous measures recently to help curb the rampant opioid addiction, and we continue to work together with our partners in the legislature and in our communities to help Ohioans dealing with addictions.

 
A Shift in Focus: HB 483

This past May, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 483 (Amstutz-R), which shifted the focus of the $47.5 million allocated in Community Behavioral Health specifically toward opioid addiction.  This money will be invested in the creation of more safe places where people can get the care they need and help ensure a high standard of care at state regional psychiatric hospitals.  It will also allow resources to be directed to the Governor’s and First Lady’s “Start Talking!” drug prevention campaign which provides tools to parents, guardians, educators and community leaders in our county.  These investments will help strengthen our behavioral health system and focus on key reforms that integrate physical and behavioral health to improve quality and access to care for all Ohioans.
 
Preventing Abuse through Technology: HB 341

House Bill 341, sponsored by Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), increases the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) registration for anyone writing a prescription for opioids.  This prescription monitoring program was created in 2005 by the State Board of Pharmacy and tracks all scheduled drugs throughout Ohio.  By running an OARRS report, a prescriber can identify patients who have received multiple narcotic prescriptions in the past year as well as provide a patient history.  This will help curb abuse by keeping the drugs out of circulation.
 
Family Lifeline: HB 170

A drug known as naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose almost instantly.  House Bill 170, sponsored by Representatives Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus), allows friends and family members of addicts, law enforcement, and emergency medical personnel to have access to naloxone in the event of an overdose.  Naloxone has been used safely and effectively in emergency rooms.  This bill builds on the pilot program established in Senate Bill 57, thanks to the hard work and sponsorship of Senator Gayle Manning (R-Lorain).
 
Protection for our Youth: HB 314

In non-emergency situations, the parent of a minor must sign a consent form for a potentially addictive prescription drug when the minor is receiving medical treatment.  House Bill 314, sponsored by Representatives Nan Baker (R-Westlake) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), requires a prescriber of a potentially addictive drug to discuss the risks of addiction with a minor and their guardian.  This bill will help fight Ohio’s prescription drug epidemic by educating and informing parents and minors of the dangers of addictive medications.
 
Diversion Policies: HB 366

For patients in hospice care programs, new policies were developed under House Bill 366 by Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) to prevent the diversion of controlled substances that contain opioids.  After a patient’s death or when certain drugs are no longer needed, a hospice program must submit a written request to hand over any remaining drugs to the program for proper disposal.  If the patient or patient’s family does not submit any remaining drugs, the hospice program must contact local law enforcement, resulting in a minor misdemeanor and a fine.
 
Drug drop boxes for disposing of unneeded Rx drugs are located at various places in each county.  In Stark County, there are ten drug collection boxes located at all of the county’s police departments with 24/7 surveillance.  This safe, eco-friendly way of destroying drugs is an important program to help rid our community of the drugs in circulation.  To find a drug drop box nearest to you, go to StarkHealth.org.
 
This issue is of utmost importance, and I will continue to update you on any legislative action or state activities that may help you and your community.  Together we can make a difference and curb this epidemic problem.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if I ever can be of assistance with any state government-related issue.

 
 
 
  
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