COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Even as Ohio has spent nearly one billion dollars a year battling drug abuse and addiction, the epidemic continues.
On Thursday morning, Governor John Kasich announced the state is adding new limits on prescribing painkillers. Rules the state claims will make it harder for drug addicts to doctor-shop, and limiting the number of day’s painkillers can be prescribed.
State officials said 74 percent of those who died of drug overdoses in 2015 had previous painkiller prescriptions, numbers officials hope to reduce with new painkiller rules.
“I want the people of Ohio to know that we are all working aggressively here. This is one of those issues that, thank God, supersedes party or philosophy,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Some highlights of the new prescription rules:
-No more than seven days of opiates can be prescribed for adults, and five for children.
-The total morphine equivalent dose (MED) of a prescription for acute pain cannot exceed an average of 30 MED per day.
-Health care providers can prescribe opiates in excess of the new limit only if they provide specific reasons in the patient’s medical records.
-Prescribers will have to include a diagnosis or procedure code on controlled substances into Ohio’s prescription monitoring program, OARRS.
-Limits will not apply for cancer patients, end-of-life care or medication-assisted treatment for addictions.
Kasich said the new prescription rules will quickly go in place, after several medical boards add their exemptions.
“This is not even a question of proposal, this is it, this is done, it will be enacted and will be carried out,” Kasich said.
Officials estimate these new rules could reduce opiate dosages by 109 million. The Ohio State Medical Board, who represents doctors support the new rules.
“What we heard today is plan that is at least going to allow for physician to preserve the right to use their own clinical judgment and make proper treatment plans for pain diagnosis,” said Reginald Fields, spokesman for the Ohio State Medical Board.
Every day eight Ohioans die from a drug overdose. Officials said the gateway to heroin addiction is prescription drugs.