PDT Staff Writer
State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) said Wednesday he is pleased to see Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine implementing another component of his landmark bill, House Bill 93, to take the problem of prescription drug abuse another step.
Johnson said one of the things that has been misunderstood about the bill, which set regulations for “pain clinics,” is that it only dealt with those operations.
“It certainly did knock out the pill mills, especially here in Scioto County,” Johnson said. “It also enabled the OARRS (Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System) to evolve and get better. And so that’s been happening. It had a Medicaid ‘Lock in’ for pharmacy services, and that’s evolving. But one of the huge parts of it - and I’m very happy to see Mike DeWine is rolling this program out, and encouraging people to do so with even greater vigor, but I think it is very important to understand that House Bill 93 actually authorized the Attorney General to do a statewide ‘take back’ program. Part of the solution is getting drugs off the street. Drugs that are out there, legitimately prescribed, in medicine cabinets, we want to get those in too. House Bill 93 made the provision to make that happen.”
Johnson was referencing this week’s announcement that the Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance to invite southern Ohio’s law enforcement agencies to participate in the newly established Ohio Prescription Drug Drop Box Program. The pilot program will provide approximately 75 drop boxes to collect prescription drugs and at least three incinerators to destroy them, something that was part of House Bill 93.
As a result, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini has applied to the state for a Prescription Drug Drop Box and an incinerator to allow residents year-round access to a place where they can dispose of their unused prescription medications.
“I applaud his (DeWine) office for rolling this out,” Johnson said. “I just wish we could move this along a little more quickly, because I think it is an important part of the solution. If I hadn’t thought it was an important part of the solution, I wouldn’t have put it in the bill to start with.”
Johnson said House Bill 93 had more components that people did not know were in the bill.
“I think it is a good time to take a look at House Bill 93 and see what it has done, and to see what progress has been made,” Johnson said. “It has been a little bit of time now, and it’s a good point at which to do some introspection about the bill. So the drug ‘take back,’ along with OARRS, and the Medicaid ‘lock in’ shows there’s a lot more to do with the entire process. We’ve really only taken the first step with this. Looking at the community coming together, like with our health indices, and the drug problem, it’s all part of our health problem, but all of these things interact, and we are learning how to bring all of the entities together to continue to attack the problem on all fronts.”
Johnson said there is a plan for a regional health summit which was to be announced today, and which will involve officials from Pike, Adams, and Lawrence counties in Ohio, as well a Greenup and Lewis counties in Kentucky.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org