As the opiate epidemic continue to rise around the country, many states are taking new looks at the way prescription painkillers are obtained by abusers. New laws and programs have been put into affect to help curb the abuse. One of the states at the forefront of the opiate problem is Ohio. The governor, John Kasich’s office has taken the battle of opiate addiction head on.
Ohio has implemented a prescription drug monitoring program that keeps track of all prescriptions in the state. Social security numbers are used to track patients and the medication they are prescribed. Thousands of false prescriptions were being filled every month and this monitoring program has helped stop many fraudulent prescriptions from being filled. It also helps to protect medical doctors by allowing them to see what medications patients are already on, helping to stop the doctor shopping.
The Ohio state senate is working to create a new law that will require all patients to provide a photo identification when picking up prescription narcotics (including Tramadol). Tramadol is on the list because it is not yet considered a controlled substance but looks to be heading that way in the near future as it's a strong pain relief medication and has some addictive qualities to it.
I see many benefits this law will have on the way prescriptions are picked up in the future. One issue that is being discussed is the fact that elderly patients usually have their medication picked up by a family member. The state is thinking about how these patients will receive their medications if they are unable to physically go to the pharmacy. Though it may be an inconvenience to some, it may really put a dent into the opiate abuse and addiction going on.
Drug abusers are always willing to take a risk in order to get their fix. They will find new ways to try to work around these laws and the state is trying to put a stop to them before they even start. We have to provide photo identification to buy cigarettes and alcohol so why not something as dangerous as prescription painkillers?
Having a photo of the person who is picking up the prescription painkillers will also aid law enforcement in stopping illegal activity. They will be able to access the photos and have the information of patients who may be abusing the system. I see this law as a benefit to help reduce the amount of illegally obtained painkillers. But the ultimate question will be how the public handles it. There are people who will say it violates their privacy, while others who agree that the health of the community is more important. It will be interesting to see how these new programs and systems turn out. I feel that anything that can help curb drug abuse is a benefit, and hope other states take notice.