Kasich signs new law to combat opioid crisis in Ohio

john kasich opioids ohio

Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich signed a new law to fight the opioid addiction problem in his home state on Wednesday.

The key components of the law include more access to Naloxone for treatment centers, schools, and homeless shelters; more accountability for Ohio’s 42,000 pharmacy technicians who must now register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy; limiting prescriptions of opiates to a supply of 90 days and invalidating prescriptions that haven’t been filled in 30 days; and getting rid of a regulatory hurdle that prevented the opening of new methadone clinics.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 2,531 accidental fatal overdoses in the state in 2015. This marks a 63 percent increase from 2010, which saw 1,544 unintentional fatal overdoses in Ohio.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine laid much of the blame on pharmaceutical companies, who “did a very good job” promoting pain medications to doctors, causing a “massive increase” in the number of prescriptions written for pain medications including oxycodone.

“We had a significant pain medication problem, and three-fourths of people using heroin started with pain medications, so there’s a natural progression,” DeWine said.

Gov. Kasich echoed DeWine’s statement at a recent press conference, stating that he believes that opioid painkillers “are a gateway to heroin.”

Another opioid fueling the rise in fatal overdoses in Ohio is fentanyl, which contributed to 1,155 deaths in the state in 2015,  up 148 percent from 2014, 1,275 percent from 2013, and 1,440 percent from 2012.

Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of Ohio’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said in a statement that Ohio was one of the first states to… (continue reading)