Frank LaRose (R-Copley) yesterday introduced legislation to ensure that Ohio's drug abuse laws appropriately reflect the potency of fentanyl and address its growing prevalence in overdose deaths.
"The alarming number of recent fentanyl related deaths is a serious
concern," said LaRose. "This legislation has the potential to save lives
by getting these highly potent drugs off our streets."
Fentanyl, a drug typically prescribed in clinical settings, is used as a
powerful synthetic opiate to treat or manage pain after surgery. In
some instances, the drug is prescribed to treat patients with chronic
pain who are tolerant of other opiates.
In 2014, fentanyl overdoses resulted in 502 deaths, according to preliminary data from the Ohio Department of Health. This number is nearly 6 times higher than the previous year.
The legislation would change what constitutes a “bulk amount” in order
to adequately recognize the seriousness of the illegal use and
trafficking of fentanyl. The bill establishes that five milligrams or
more of fentanyl or an amount equal to or exceeding one gram of a
compound, mixture, preparation, or substance that contains any amount of
fentanyl and that is not in a final dosage form manufactured by an
authorized manufacturer constitutes a bulk amount for the purposes of
drug offense laws.
The bill also harmonizes state law with federal law by
adding lisdexamfetamine to the Ohio schedule of controlled
substances. Lisdexamfetamine is used to treat ADHD and hyperactivity and
is at a high risk of being abused, especially in juveniles.