Monday, February 21, 2011

Gov. Kasich Brings New Help to Prescription Drug Abuse Fight

Gov. John Kasich
PORTSMOUTH – Today Gov. John R. Kasich announced a range of new resources to help Scioto County and Ohio better fight the prescription drug abuse epidemic, including new funds for a Portsmouth drug treatment center, new access to advanced treatment methods and a new multi-agency coordinating effort that will be advised by former Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

Since 2007, unintentional drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, and Scioto County has been ground zero.  Last year 9.7 million doses of prescription painkillers were dispensed in Scioto County—123 doses for every man, woman and child in the county.

Kasich announced the new resources in Portsmouth after a meeting with local drug treatment officials and legislators, together with Montgomery and Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Director Orman Hall.

Details of today’s announcement include:

·         $100,000 in state funds for a new treatment center at the Counseling Center, a private, non-profit drug treatment center in Portsmouth.  $300,000 in additional federal funds is being sought;

·         A new prescription drug addiction task force advised by Montgomery to work with state agencies, Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Supreme Court of Ohio, local law enforcement leaders, and other states;

·         An Executive Order signed by Kasich allowing the state’s local treatment partners to use new medications approved by the federal government to assist with opiate addiction therapies.
Fact Sheet:

·         New Resources: $100,000 for drug treatment in Portsmouth; $300,000 match pending.
o   Through a partnership among the Rehabilitative Services Commission, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and local treatment professionals, $100,000 in state funds will be matched with $300,000 in federal vocational rehabilitation funds to provide a total of $400,000 for a new halfway house and outpatient treatment facility in Portsmouth.  These new resources will expand access to cost-effective addiction treatment and recovery support services so people with addiction can get the help they need to get back to work.  The Administration is exploring how similar partnerships can be created in other counties across Ohio.
·         New Cooperation: State agencies will work together more closely.
o   An interagency coordinating body will be formed comprised of representatives from the Governor’s Office, Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Ohio Department of Youth Services, Office of Medicaid, Attorney General’s office and the Supreme Court.
o   This group will coordinate the efforts of a broad range of stakeholder groups, spanning all major areas involved in the treatment, law enforcement and judicial systems.
·         New Leadership: Former Ohio Attorney General and Auditor Betty Montgomery will serve as a special advisor to the Governor on prescription drug abuse.
o   Montgomery will serve as a liaison to the federal government, Attorney General DeWine, local law enforcement leaders, and other states to help coordinate a more robust response to the problem and advise Kasich on the best strategies for tackling and winning the fight.
·         New Tools: A new executive order expands treatment options and new legislation will strengthen the fight against crooked clinics.
o   Kasich signed an emergency Executive Order to immediately amend existing rules to allow ODADAS treatment providers to utilize a comprehensive list of FDA-approved medication to assist in the treatment of opiate addiction. 
o   Kasich supports an emergency clause for House Bill 93 sponsored by Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Rep. Dave Burke (R-Marysville), cosponsored by Rep. David Bubp (R-West Union) that establishes critical restrictions on unscrupulous pain clinics and limits excessive in-office prescribing.

·         9.7 million doses of Rx painkillers were dispensed in Scioto County last year: 123 doses for the 79,000 men, women and children in the county. (Source: Ohio Board of Pharmacy, 2010)
·         Between 1999 and 2008, there was a 360 percent increase in accidental over-dose deaths in Scioto County; 92 percent of these deaths are due to prescription medications. (Source: Scioto County Rx Drug Action Team)
·         Oxycodone toxicity deaths in Scioto County have quadrupled in the past three years. The majority of these deaths occurred in the 25-35 year-old age groups. (Source: Scioto County Rx Drug Action Team)
·         Eighty-five percent of substance abuse treatment requests at the Scioto County Counseling Center are now for opiate addiction, marking a 300 percent increase in just the past three years. (Source: Scioto County Rx Drug Action Team)
·         Since 2007, unintentional drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Fatal and non-fatal poisonings cost Ohioans $3.6 billion annually. (Source: Ohio Department of Health, “Burden of Poisoning in Ohio, 1999-2008”)
·         The Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring (OSAM) Network reports a move from prescription painkillers to heroin among opiate abusers. Heroin is highly available in all regions of the state. (Source: ODADAS, OSAM Network, 2011)