Easy access to prescription opioids targeted today

YOUNGSTOWN — Officials from the Ohio Department of Health, state mental health & addiction services agency, and state medical board are visiting the city today as part of a statewide rollout of a public awareness campaign targeting the overprescribing of prescription opioids.

In response to Ohio’s ongoing opioid epidemic, Take Charge Ohio aims to give prescribers information about safe prescribing practices and non-opioid alternatives to treating pain. The campaign also seeks to educate patients and the general public.

State officials are speaking with local officials at the downtown office of the Mahoning County Mental Health & Recovery Board.

Officials noted that 2016 saw the first decline in prescription overdose deaths in seven years, but the problem remains serious.

Mahoning County Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney provided some local perspective, noting that there have been 88 confirmed drug-related deaths in the county so far this year - 49 percent linked to prescription drugs, and 87 percent linked to some type of opioid.

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