Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press.
Legislators in Ohio, which has experienced a surge in opioid overdose deaths, are calling for stricter standards for prescribing opioids for pain, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, 1,765 people died from opioid overdoses in 2011, a 440 percent increase from 1999.
This week, members of an Ohio House committee studying prescription drug abuse introduced ideas for measures to address drug abuse and addiction. These include allowing 30-day prescriptions to be filled only in weekly increments, and preventing minors from being prescribed narcotics without their parents’ knowledge and consent. The legislators also suggested mandating the use of the state prescription reporting database, which is now voluntarily used by doctors and pharmacists, requiring a photo ID to pick up a narcotics prescription at the pharmacy, and creating more integration between treatments, detox programs, peer support and funding.
Earlier this month, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced new opioid prescribing guidelines for treating patients with chronic non-terminal pain. The guidelines were developed by the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team, along with more than 40 professional groups, state licensing boards and state agencies. They encourage prescribers to fully evaluate a patient’s situation before prescribing high levels of opioids for long-term use.
Prescribers will be encouraged to use the state’s drug reporting database to find out how much pain medication patients are already receiving. Pharmacists must record opioid prescriptions in the online system.