State Representatives Burke and Bubp Tackle Drug Abuse

State Representatives Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Danny Bubp (R- West Union) held a news conference, September 15, to announce the introduction of new legislation aimed at  cracking down on prescription drug abuse.   According to Rep. Burke, the bill will:

  • Provide for real time use of the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS);
  • Allow the Pharmacy Board to assign a unique identifier to each purchaser of dangerous drugs;
  • Require pharmacies to submit information to OARRS when a pharmacist elects not to dispense a dangerous drug as a result of reviewing information;
  • Require the Medical Board to adopt rules specifying when a physician is required to report information to OARRS;
  • Require contracts entered into between the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to include provisions for a Medicaid lock-in program called the Coordinated Services Program; and
  • Require the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Insurance and State Pharmacy Board to cooperate in contributing sufficient funds necessary to develop and operate the immediate update component of OARRS by obtaining federal grants and other contributions.

Click here to read a copy of the bill as introduced http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_HB_582

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Rep. Dave Burke, Scioto County Coroner Terry Johnson, DO, and Rep. Danny Bubp (left to right), with the families of drug abuse victims

 

Terry Johnson, DO, who is a candidate for the Ohio House and current coroner of Scioto County, also participated in the conference along with local members of SOLACE a national support group for family members who have lost children to prescription drug abuse and/or drug related violence.

“Drug abuse and pill mills are hurting our state and killing our friends and neighbors,” said Burke.  He said the solution to the problem requires many different actions, and the new bill is only one part of the strategies needed to solve the problem.

 Rep. Bubp, pointed out that Adams County, located within his district, has the highest number of prescription abuse deaths of any county in Ohio.  He said that Scioto County, in the district next to his, has been named the 10th most significant location in the country for the trafficking of prescription drugs.

 Courtney Rose, speaking for the SOLACE members from Southeast Ohio, pleaded for the public to “help stop the drug epidemic.”  She said that more people die from drug abuse than are killed in the War on Terror.  She urged the public to start viewing the campaign to shut down pill mills and stop drug abuse deaths as a war and to put the resources to win behind it. 

Dr. Johnson said he first became aware of the prescription drug abuse problem as a emergency physician.  He said that drug ddiversion is a “shadow economy,” in Southern Ohio that is fueled by the tough economic conditions in the area. 

“I view Southern Ohio as “Ground Zero,” he said.  He added that as Scioto County  coroner, over half of the autopsies he has performed have been  due to overdoses or other drug related deaths.  He said to combat the problem local officials have formed a Prescription Drug Action Team.

Burke and Bubp

“I have compiled statistics showing the devastating effects of the growing epidemic of drug related deaths, but the members of SOLACE, who have lost their loved ones, have put a human face on this tragedy,” Dr. Johnson said.  

 

Dr. Johnson talks with a SOLACE member after the conference

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