The state of Ohio has been hit particularly hard by the opiate epidemic. I have written many articles about this state because it is one of the worst states for the abusing of opiates. Many professionals believe that Ohio is plagued by opiate addiction because of its geographic location and the high unemployment numbers for the state. When I spoke to an opiate addict recently on the phone who resides in Ohio, I asked him if the opiate epidemic was relevant in his particular town. He told me that everyone he knew going back to high school has had an issue with prescription painkillers or heroin at one time. He told me that his town had a factory in it for a large corporation. The factory closed in 2007 and the whole town became unemployed at once. When this happened, it seemed everyone turned to opiates to cope. Even those that were using prior to the closing just used more and people he would never expect to use drugs were going to the same dealer he did.
Governor Kasich has been a pro-active governor when it comes to fighting the opiate epidemic in his state. I have supported him since he first started to change laws and plans that would benefit his citizens. On Monday morning, Governor Kasich visited a Kroger Pharmacy in downtown Columbus to draw attention to the plans he now has to further curb the opiate issues in his state.
The governor announced a plan that will spend up to $1.5 million during 2016 to integrate the Ohio Automatic RX Reporting System, also known as (OARRS), into the prescription drug monitoring system they are currently using. To strengthen the fight against opiates, the new system will track prescription opiate history and show trends to be able to detect the risks of addiction or abuse to these particular kinds of prescription medications.
This new system will make it extremely difficult for addicts to abuse the system and now allows pharmacists to check patients history with opioid medications in the same system that lets them view their entire medical record. This new ability will make “doctor shopping” extinct and will put a serious end to forged prescriptions. “Doctor Shopping” is when an addict will go to multiple doctors with the same ailment and tries to get prescribed painkillers from each doctor. If someone was to try and “doctor shop” now, all of the prescription attempts will show up before the prescriptions are filled. This will set off an alarm for pharmacists who could then contact each prescribing doctor to make them aware of the patients illegal activity and also contact law enforcement to charge them with fraud.
“Whenever I’m with a group of students, particularly college students, I say, ‘I know I sound like Dad,’” Kasich said. “'Don’t do drugs. You take the first OxyContin and the next thing you know, you’re an addict. Once that’s on your back, you may never get it off.'” Governor Kasich is doing everything in his power to fight this epidemic in his state of Ohio. I applaud his efforts and wish all politicians cared about their citizens as much as he does.