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Kasich, DeWine set sights on prescription drug scourge



Published: Fri, July 15, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

There were those who thought that Ohio’s new governor, John Kasich, was being heavy handed when he pursued legislation that would allow the state to crack down on pill mills, where prescription drugs were being handed out almost like candy.

Kasich can be accused of overreaching with some of his legislative initiatives, but when it comes to prescription-drug abuse, his approach was justified.

Some areas of the state have been harder hit by prescription drug abuse than others, but no area is immune. The poster child for the initiative was Scioto County, where 9.7 million prescriptions were filled for fewer than 80,000 people one year. That’s about 125 prescriptions for every man, woman and child.

Kasich was joined early on by Ohio’s new Attorney General, Mike DeWine, who supported House Bill 93 and even before its passage appointed attorneys in his office to launch a crackdown on prescription drug abuse.

Broad-ranged attack

H.B. 93, which Kasich signed May 20, enhances Ohio’s computerized system to help identify extensive prescription-drug use, limits prescribers’ ability to personally furnish certain drugs, improves licensing of and law enforcement involving pain-management clinics, and develops a statewide prescription-drug “take-back” program.

Last month, Kasich signed an executive order giving the State Medical Board the power to take immediate action against pill mills while the final rules for implementing the law are being written.

The governor and DeWine are moving quickly against a killer that established a grip on the state with few people — except the families of those who died — taking note.

In 2007, drug abuse deaths in the state of Ohio exceeded traffic deaths for the first time and about 40 percent of those deaths were attributable to prescription drugs. In the decade between 1999 and 2009, drug abuse deaths in the state more than quadrupled, from 327 to 1,373.

And down in Scioto County, where there were 125 prescriptions for every resident, there were 117 drug overdose deaths between 2000 and 2008.

On Monday, Gil Kerlikowske, the director of National Drug Control Policy, was at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to talk about the Obama administration’s 2011 National Drug Control Strategy and how it could help Ohio’s efforts against drugs. DeWine was there. Kerlikowske noted Ohio’s recent success in shutting down some of its souther pill mills, but said that federal agents can help stem the distribution of other drugs in the tri-state area.

It will take federal, state and local efforts to reduce drug trafficking of all kinds. To help local departments take on this new initiative, DeWine has pledged the support of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.


Comments

1TB(1167 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

looks like more big government to me

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2dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Here we go again with the government over-regulating something because SOME people abuse it. Not to mention the non-existent patient privacy due to computerized records and tracking. To investigate, charge and prosecute unscrupulous doctors who really do hand out pills like candy is too time-consuming and expensive. So all of us have to deal with being hassled when we try to get medication for a legitimate need.

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3taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

dreamcatcher-I agree with all of your points 100%. The other factor that is being omitted entirely is the illegal purchasing of prescription meds on the streets and on the internet. Many who are into this excessive consumption don't get all of it through doctors. Some don't get any of it that way!

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4dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

We can educate, rehabilitate, and incarcerate up to a point, but we will never get everyone off drugs. We will never stop all drug abuse. At least not without giving up every last bit of freedom we have left. This is the price we pay for our liberty. Every day they chip away at it and we lose more and more. All in the name of "fixing" what is wrong with people. If we could just pass a law to prevent people from _______, all would be right with the world.

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5USNBOY(76 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Just another way the scum is screwing the good people. They go in for a BS reason and get pain meds because "I rolled my ankle playing basketball" and the next day they are playing basketball again and you see them at the club selling their meds. Some people have serious conditions who are in massive amounts of pain every day who NEED those medications to do simple tasks like walk to the bathroom. I was injured in the Middle East in 2005 which resulted in two fractures of L-5 and blown discs between L-1 to S-1. They did not do surgery when it happened and the bones healed wrong. I will be in constant severe pain for the rest of my life. There is NO cure. I will need these medications for the rest of my life just to function. I'm far from a drug addict! I depend on the medication to do something as little as give my kids a hug. It angers me when I know 3 out of 10 patients in that office will sell them on the street. All they do is make it hard for chronic pain sufferers to get the meds they need. If they do this, they aren't hurting those who sell their medication. They are hurting TRUE sufferers who need the medication. If you take their medication, you may as well shoot them. Most will shoot themselves eventually anyway because they can't deal with the pain.

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