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Ohio Physician Group Creates Campaign To Reduce Opiate Prescription Pill Abuse

The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) announced a statewide public health campaign aimed at saving lives by eliminating prescription pill abuse and opioid addiction, a problem that kills more Ohioans each year than automobile accidents. The opiate epidemic is destroying lives on a daily basis and has made an impact in every community in the state. It has become the focal point for many groups of professionals to help save lives in their communities.

The campaign is called Smart Rx, Smart Medicine and Responsible Treatment. The mission of the campaign is to encourage doctors to take a greater role in helping to curb the opiate epidemic and to find life-saving solutions to the harmful misuse of prescription painkillers. The Ohio State Medical Association is partnering with the Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth, private physicians and major hospital systems across the state to launch the campaign.

"While doctors prescribe medication to assist patients dealing with pain and other ailments, Ohio physicians also realize they can be catalyst to help reduce the number of pills made available to patients," said OSMA president Mary J. Wall, MD,JD, a diagnostic radiologist. "At the same time, we can do more to help physicians identify alternatives to prescription drugs, as well as educate patients about the dangers of improperly taking medication."

The Smart Rx campaign is a long-term effort that will feature Ohio physicians and other prescribers in public service announcements and community outreach efforts while encouraging greater patient accountability. It also includes a unique training opportunity for healthcare workers to remain up to date on proper prescribing procedures.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has applauded physicians for taking the necessary steps to help curb the abuse. The governor has been very pro-active towards the opiate epidemic in his state and continues to show his persistence and concern for the topic.

"As health care professionals, physicians are well aware of the prescription drug abuse epidemic that we've been battling in Ohio for the past several years," the governor said. "Our physicians, they are on the frontline of this battle. And we know that working together is absolutely critical to our success."

Ohio Department of Aging Director Bonnie K. Burman, who is co-chair of the Opiates and Other Controlled Substances Reforming Practices Committee of the Governor's Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT), said that Smart Rx will help educate and encourage prescribers in Ohio to be even more accountable to their profession and to patients when it comes to prescribing opiates.

“We know that one of the most effective ways to help halt the detrimental impact of prescription pill abuse and addiction in Ohio is for our health care leaders to recognize the important role they play in addressing this public health crisis," Burman said. "With tools like Smart Rx, Ohio's physicians can help save lives."

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