Ohio is facing a huge problem with prescription painkiller addiction. With thousands of Ohio residents living a life controlled by their prescription drug addiction, state officials have implemented a system to help cut back on the abuse. Officials have created a system to help deter would-be abusers from acquiring more prescription painkillers than necessary. Their new system is designed to help curb addicts from doctor shopping.
Governor John R. Kasich announced the launch of a program which provides guidelines for the way doctors prescribe opiates to patients with chronic and non-terminal pain. This program was developed by the Governor's Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GOAT), and with the help of over 40 professional groups, state licensing boards and state agencies. This group encourages Ohio's doctors to evaluate a patient's full situation before prescribing them opioids for long-term use. With the knowledge and statistics flooding the state governments about the dangers of long-term opioid use, Ohio's state government is providing a building block for other states to learn from. Having stricter guidelines for prescribing opiates is necessary to help cut back on the abuse.
“Drug overdoses have reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, and too many Ohio families have felt the pain caused by the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. We have a serious problem and we can’t just sit back and hope things change without action. Together with the medical community, we’ve established new prescribing guidelines that will take another step to reverse this troubling trend and fix this problem,” said Governor Kasich.
“It is often said that the first rule of medicine is to ‘Do no harm,’” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, director of the Ohio Department of Health and co-chair of the GCOAT Professional Education Workgroup. With this philosophy, it gives clinicians the tools to double-check their work and examine patients more thoroughly to make sure that each patient is being prescribed the right prescription drug at the right dose and for a safe amount of time.
When a prescription is filled in Ohio, pharmacists must record the prescription in the online Ohio Automated RX reporting System (OARRS). This program lets pharmacists and prescribing doctors know if their patient is being prescribed too many opiates. If their patient is “doctor shopping” (the practice of a patient requesting care from multiple physicians, often at the same time without letting the doctors know). A great tool of the OARRS is a program that calculates how many opioid medications a patient is on and provides them a score. The higher the score, the higher the amount of painkillers prescribed. This helps to provide doctors and care-givers along with pharmacies monitor the opiate usage of their patients.
The state of Ohio is doing their part to lessen the destruction that prescription painkillers are causing and are setting a good example for other states to follow. The governor and his staff have implemented effective and clever programs that will make a difference in this growing epidemic.