MARC KOVAC: Bipartisan agreement on the battle against prescription drug abuse

R-C Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- There's a lot of contention here at the Statehouse between Republicans and Democrats and Republicans and Republicans and Democrats and Democrats.

Debates over issues such as Medicaid expansion, abortion, school funding and tax policy rightfully grab headlines and public attention.

But there's also a lot of agreement that occurs on a daily basis during committee hearings and floor sessions, with lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle nodding or shaking their heads in unison.

Take prescription drug abuse.

Lawmakers have already passed legislation to combat so-called "pill mills," which were doling out more addictive narcotics than their patients could possibly consume for medically necessary or legal purposes.

Earlier this month, Gov. John Kasich's administration also announced new guidelines for prescribing higher doses of prescription painkillers, with an eye toward avoiding addiction and more closely monitoring pill distribution.

Last week, the Ohio House moved legislation allowing quicker access to a drug that counteracts the effects of heroin and similar drugs to treat overdose victims.

And an Ohio House committee has unveiled a series of recommendations to continue the fight.

The Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Legislative Study Committee played host to four hearings around the state, where members heard 16 hours of testimony from 81 witnesses on the scope of the problem.

"There were enough doses of opioids legally dispensed last year for every man, woman and child in Ohio to have almost 70 doses," said Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), chairman of the committee.

Last week, the committee offered a number of law changes to address the issue, including:

nA "Dial 9-1-1 Good Samaritan Law" to protect addicts when calling emergency responders in cases of potential overdose.

n Requiring pharmacists to check a valid photo ID before providing pills.

n Prescribing certain prescription painkillers in 10-day increments, rather than providing 30-day supplies.

n Requiring parental consent when prescribing certain painkillers to teens.

There's a lot more in the report -- warning labels on prescription opioids, a bolstered public awareness campaign of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, specialty courts to ensure those convicted of drug-related crimes get the treatment they need, etc.-- and lawmakers already have indicated their intentions to introduce legislation to codify some of the recommendations.

That should mean more bipartisan agreement on an issue that Republicans and Democrats have been working together to address.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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  • Law changes proposed included "Requiring parental consent when prescribing certain painkillers to teens."

    But the pro-abortion Democrats oppose parental consent, and even oppose parental notification, when teens seek to take the abortion pill.

    The pro-abortion Democrats willingly let teens take life-killing chemical cocktails into their bodies without supervision, consent, or even notification.

    Hypocrites.