Across the United States there is new legislation popping up to combat the growing opioid addiction crisis, and Ohio is no exception. They are adding a new way to fight back against drug abuse by offering doctors and pharmacist’s one click access to their opiate tracking system. This system is called the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), and Ohio is the first in linking this database with medical records. Now electronic medical records that are already updated by pharmacists and doctors will be updated in a state wide system to make abuse of prescription drugs easier to spot.
This change couldn't come quick enough. Ohio's overdose death rate rose 17.6 percent in the last year, bringing the number of deaths to 2,482. The state is allotting $1.5 million dollars to integrate the database into the current electronic medical system and hopes that this latest tool will stem the growing tide of opiate abuse. Governor John Kasich stated that this new database linkup will show that Ohio is going to continue to fight back against this epidemic regardless of the growth.
While this change may help to curb opiate abuse, it is far too late for many different Ohioans. Tonda DaRae is a resident of Carrollton in Eastern Ohio, and she lost her 21 year old daughter, Holly Noel Jenkins, three months ago to an overdose of heroin. DaRae spoke at a news conference at the Kroger pharmacy with Gov. Kasich by her side for support. "I really hope that this will help tons of other people. We have to save our kids," she said, holding back her tears. "I never want another parent to suffer through what I have will continue to go through." The OARRS system has been established in Ohio since 2006, aiding those who are looking for prescription drug abusers such as Oxycontin and Percocet. All narcotics are frequently more prone to abuse, and can cause addicts to "shop" around for different doctors to prescribe them new opiates. This system helps to flag these patients who are "doctor shopping" as well as helping to find different doctors who may be offering too many prescriptions of these sort of addictive drugs. In fact, the OARRS system has already helped to significantly lower the rates of opiates being prescribed to patients. State officials released statistics that show the across Ohio, doctors have prescribed forty million less doses of different opiates between since 2013. In addition, the database has shown that there has been a huge and hopeful drop of addicts finding success in doctor shopping, or even trying at all because of new regulations. From a high of 3,000 individual’s doctor shopping in 2009, the numbers have dropped to a low of 960 people last year. There is high hopes that this new easy to access system will continue to lower the numbers. Sarah Burke, who is a pharmacist at Kroger, hopes that the one-click link will be a game changer in the face of the opiate epidemic" "This is a win for all health care across Ohio," Burke states. "This is tool is essential for us and it will help."