Premature deaths due to prescription drug abuse have gotten so bad that it has become the number one cause of accidental fatalities. As a response, new bills have been explored to curb drug abuse. The amount of prescription drugs that have been given out has been a grey area in healthcare, and a prescription drug addiction committee are working on passing bills to curb the drug abuse.
Ohio Is At The Forefront
Ohio, the Midwestern state, is being especially proactive when it comes to passing bills to curb drug abuse. Although the prescription drug problem exists everywhere in the United States, apparently Ohio has been particularly hard hit, and the effects of the drug abuse are felt throughout the entire state. The Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Committee have done extensive research, traveled all around Ohio, and have listened to many people’s stories about drug abuse in coming up with legislations to stem the epidemic.
The committee has broken down what they believe are the main goals they want to achieve with the legislation that they pass, and includes three main points:
- Cut down on the amount of prescription drugs that are being prescribed
- Help those who are already addicted
- Find the most effective treatments
And by achieving these goals, Ohio will begin to deter the amount of prescription drug abuse going on, instead of it continuing to grow at exploding rates. They have various bills they want to pass to address the three main points mentioned above.
Education About Prescription Drugs
The House Bills are all aimed at educating the public at large about how addictive prescription drugs can be. This includes requiring a parent or legal guardian signature before a doctor can prescribe opioids to a minor. This way parents can monitor their own children, and make sure that usage of the drugs doesn’t get out of control.
Another bill will require doctors to provide patients with a fact sheet about the dangers of prescription drugs before prescribing them. The fact sheet will have been created by the Department of Health, so that it will provide a realistic and unbiased account of what the drugs can do. Some people might be dissuaded from using the drug in the first place, or at the very least will proceed with more caution than they would’ve without being provided with the fact sheet.
One of the other bills proposes having a curriculum that addresses the dangers of opioids, so that education about the dangers starts early. This is an interesting bill, because previously most drug education in schools has been focused around illegal drugs, particularly using marijuana, cocaine, or ecstasy. Now the rising deaths surrounding prescription drugs, has spurred a bill that will also include opioids in the discussion. This actually seems a very promising step against prescription drug abuse, and will greatly raise the awareness of the problem amongst kids, who previously may have known nothing about it.
A Good Samaritan Law is also helping people who might already be suffering from a serious addiction. If they are in need of immediate and emergency help, anyone around them can seek emergency medical help without fear of prosecution or arrest. This can go a long way towards getting treatment for people who desperately need it, by letting anyone around them seek help even if they are in possession of drugs. Unfortunately, many people use drugs together, and if one of them overdoses, then the other person won’t be afraid to seek help, even if they were also in possession of drugs.
Ohio is making great strides in addressing an increasingly problematic issue. However, it seems that once awareness is spread and more legislation is put in place about how prescription drugs are given out, the number of fatalities will begin to drop.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.