Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Law to Fight Prescription Rx Abuse Passes House Concurrence, Awaits Governor’s Signature

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) have announced that the Ohio House of Representatives has voted to accept Senate changes to House Bill 93—which will combat prescription drug abuse and reduce the widespread prevalence of “pill mills.”
House Bill 93 will enhance the current Ohio Automated Rx Review System (OARRS), which was established in 2006 to assist health care professionals in identifying drug-seeking behaviors to provide additional oversight. It will also limit prescribers’ ability to personally furnish certain controlled substances, enact Medicaid reforms to improve consumer education and allow for better care coordination, improve licensing and law enforcement for pain-management clinics, and develop a statewide prescription drug “take-back” program.
“I’m very pleased that we have passed House Bill 93 and are one step closer to putting a stop to this epidemic,” said Rep. Johnson, a physician and former Scioto County coroner. “We have an opportunity to close some of the loopholes that have caused many of our neighbors, friends or family members to fall victim to prescription drug abuse and related death.”
“As a pharmacist, the issue of prescription drug deaths is especially urgent to me,” said Rep. Burke. “We’re talking about people’s lives and the emotional toll prescription drug abuse takes on their loved ones. House Bill 93 is a necessary step in the right direction.”
Among Senate changes to House Bill 93 are modifications to the definition of “pain management clinic,” delay on the prohibition on pain management operation without a license by 30 days, and permission for the Bureau of Works Compensation to access OARRS, among other additions.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country and the second-most common form of illicit drug abuse among teenagers in the U.S., second only to marijuana.
In Ohio, unintentional drug overdoses surpassed motor vehicle crashes and suicide as the leading cause of injury death in Ohio. It has also been reported that the highest rates in the state for these deaths are in southern Ohio, where seven of the 10 counties with the highest death rates are located.
House Bill 93 passed unanimously and will now move to Governor Kasich for his signature.