The struggle with addiction is crippling, and opiate addiction does not discriminate geographically, socially, or economically. In Ohio, drug overdose deaths rose from 2,531 in 2014 to 3,050 in 2015, according to a report from the Ohio Department of Health.  

Senate Bill 319, passed by the legislature at the end of 2016, implements common sense solutions to further confront the opioid crisis in Ohio. Sponsored by Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township), this legislation consists of several important pillars.  

Over the past three years, one-third of all drug theft cases have been committed by pharmacy technicians. This bill requires uniform registration of these technicians, to ensure stronger accountability and theft reduction. Pharmacies will also place a 90-day cap on opiate prescriptions that a patient may receive, and invalidating any prescription not filled after 14 days. Unused or leftover prescriptions can often fall into the wrong hands; by limiting high-volume prescriptions we encourage safe and proper use of opiate prescriptions.

Additionally, this legislation incorporates important strategies to encourage safe and responsible treatment. It expands access to Naloxone, a lifesaving drug that can be used to reverse opiate overdoses. Widely utilized by law enforcement, Senate Bill 319 expands the list of entities eligible to carry Naloxone, including homeless shelters, halfway houses, schools, and treatment centers.  

Current statutory requirements have also been waived to allow methadone providers to establish treatment clinics without a two year operation prerequisite, while maintaining necessary oversight. This initiative will allow for increased availability of medication-assisted treatment centers, ensuring expanded access to help individuals suffering from addiction. Senate Bill 319 also establishes new oversight for purchasing and distributing controlled substances and ensures responsible addiction treatment related to suboxone.

Alongside the great work done by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, this legislation takes important steps to tackling Ohio’s opiate crisis and ensuring access to vital treatment.
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