COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich (R) has enacted new restrictions on the prescription of pain pills.
In recent years, more regulation and restriction has come from the state government in response to the growing problem of drug abuse, specifically prescription drug abuse. Thursday, at a press conference at the statehouse, Kasich announced new restrictions will limit prescription of pain killers to seven days for adults, five for minors. A press release from Kasich’s office explained that clinicians can currently prescribe up to three months worth of opiate painkillers at a time.
The new rules, enforced by the Ohio State Medical Board and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, will also require doctors to provide a specific diagnosis for every prescription. There is a stipulation regarding the nature of the diagnosis. According to the Associated Press, this only pertains to patients suffering from acute pain related illness; broken bones, surgery, or dental procedures. Cancer, hospice, and addiction patients are not affected.
This new legislation is expected to remove about 109 million pills annually, according to an AP report.
Statistics from Kasich’s office show that nearly three out of four lethal overdoses are individuals that were prescribed an opioid, suggesting a correlation between an abundance of painkillers and abuse of prescription opiates. Previous restrictions similar to this one have reduced the amount of prescribed doses by 20 percent over recent years, this new step is intended to continue that trend. The Gallipolis Police Department has handled 18 overdoses since the first of this year, two of which resulted in fatalities.
The increase of drug-related activity in Gallia County has brought with it an increase in activity from the sheriff’s office as well as this new legislation. According to a statement from Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine on the new legislation: “Every day in Ohio we lose eight people to drug overdoses.”
Some of these deaths have happened right here in Gallia County, according to law enforcement officials. More than 3,000 individuals have died in the State of Ohio in 2016, a frightening statistic explained Dewine.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 or [email protected]