By RYAN DUNN
The aggressive statewide fight against prescription drug and heroin abuse is continuing with new laws, state Rep. Robert Sprague told the Findlay Rotary Club on Monday.
Recently approved legislation requires doctors to consult a patient prescription database before offering painkillers, mandates that hospices destroy narcotics of deceased patients, and requires parental knowledge of opioid prescriptions to minors.
The legal push-back is necessary as the epidemic burdens state services, said Sprague, R-Findlay. An average of five people die from drug overdoses each day in Ohio, he said.
“Our state is facing, really, a crisis,” he said.
The three-tier legislative response focuses on preventing more addiction, cutting the illicit distribution of pain medicine, and providing better treatment, Sprague said.
Ohio’s success rate for users overcoming heroin abuse is a mere 10 percent, Sprague said.
A new Hardin County program helping heroin addicts found 85 percent of those patients also have hepatitis C, a contagious disease that strikes the liver. Sprague said a pill to treat hepatitis costs $1,000.
“We’re paying for that through our Medicaid system, so tremendous societal impact,” Sprague said.
Sprague asked the Rotarians to diligently dispose of surplus medications. They can do so in bins at the Findlay Police Department and Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, as well as during collection events.
“Clear out your medicine cabinets and get those medications away from our young people and our children,” he said.