You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Drug abuse guidelines aimed at doctors


The prescription drug abuse epidemic sweeping Ohio led state officials Monday to announce new guidelines for doctors to help curb abuse in a state that has the 12th-highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, according to a new report.

The guidelines for opioid prescriptions — including powerful painkillers, such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone — recommend that doctors and licensed clinicians reevaluate pain treatments and inform their patients about the risk of addiction and accidental overdose before prescribing opioid medication in the equivalent of 80 milligrams of morphine or more for three months or longer.

A prescription calling for a daily dose of 16 tablets of Vicodin, for example, would trigger the new guidelines, which are intended to provide a benchmark, according to Gov. John Kaisch’s Opiate Action Team, which established the guidelines in conjunction with more than 40 professional groups, state licensing boards and state agencies.

The guidelines, which have been posted on a new website — opioidprescribing.ohio.gov — are not enforceable rules or state statutes, and they do not restrict doctors from prescribing opioids above the morphine-equivalent threshold.

But the guidelines may give pause to some doctors and clinicians concerned about sanctions for over-prescribing painkillers that could lead to unintended consequences for the approximately one million Ohioans suffering from chronic pain, said Jeff Smith of the Ohio State Medical Association — the state’s largest physician organization with more than 15,000 members.

“We do expect some challenges with communicating this to physicians,” Smith said. “Patients may see a little bit of disruption across the state in terms of their pain care.”

Ohio doctors have already been hit with tough new regulations enacted in 2011 to crack down on so-called “pill mills,” or doctors’ offices and pain clinics that flood the market with pain pills.

And the new prescribing guidelines could make doctors even more gun-shy about prescribing painkillers to those patients who truly need them, said Dr. Rick Buenaventura, who practices at Pain Relief of Dayton and is a member of the Montgomery County Opiate Task Force.

“We’ve seen this before,” Buenaventura said. “And this (new guidelines) might scare doctors even more. That could mean significant difficulty in patients obtaining prescriptions for opioids needed for pain treatment.”

Still, the need for action is clear, said Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director for Montgomery County’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.

“People die from drug overdoses daily here, so anything we can do to prevent deaths from prescription drug overdoses is a step in the right direction,” Jones-Kelley said.

Statewide, deaths from prescription opioid overdoses climbed nearly 300 percent from 199 in 2001 to 789 in 2011, according to Ohio Department of Health statistics. And an estimated five Ohioans a day die from unintentional prescription drug overdoses, which cost the state about $3.5 billion a year in medical costs, lost work time and productivity.

Nationally, Ohio is among the states where prescription drug overdose fatalities have grown most rapidly, according to the “Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic” report from Trust for America’s Health —a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit health advocacy organization.

At 16.1 deaths per 100,000 people, the number of drug overdose deaths — a majority of which are from prescription drugs — in Ohio tripled since 1999 when the rate was 4.2 per 100,000, according to the report. That ranked Ohio No. 12 among states suffering the most drug overdose fatalities, according to the report.

The report also found that Ohio ranked in the middle of the pack among states adopting strategies to help curb the epidemic.

Trust for America’s Health — in consultation with a number of public health, clinical, injury prevention, law enforcement and community organization experts — reviewed a range of national recommendations and examined a set of 10 indicators of strategies being used in states.

The report found Ohio received six out of 10 possible indicators of promising strategies to help curb prescription drug abuse. Nationally, 28 states and Washington, D.C. scored six or less, with New Mexico and Vermont scoring the highest, with a 10, and South Dakota scoring the lowest with two out of 10.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Video shows woman kidnapped as infant in Florida joking about getting kidnapped
Video shows woman kidnapped as infant in Florida joking about getting kidnapped

A Facebook live video shows the young woman who was snatched from a Jacksonville hospital as an infant joking about getting kidnapped. In the July 2016 video, she does not hint that she knew she really was a kidnapping victim. Gloria Williams is still in a South Carolina jail cell, accused of kidnapping Kamiyah Mobley as a baby in 1998 and...
Security experts warn about possible violence at inauguration
Security experts warn about possible violence at inauguration

As the nation's security agencies gear up for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, some experts in the field are warning of the potential for volatility. >> Read more trending stories  "Unlike previous inaugurations in presidential history, this is predicted to be the most volatile," said Ross Bulla, a security...
President Obama welcomes Chicago Cubs to White House
President Obama welcomes Chicago Cubs to White House

For the last time in his tenure as president, Barack Obama welcomed a championship team to the White House. This time it had a special meaning to the outgoing commander-in-chief, as he spent much of his life in Chicago (though he is a White Sox fan). When Obama took to the microphone to address the Cubs fans and legions of reporters, his first words...
Dr. Bernice King: ‘My father would meet with Trump’
Dr. Bernice King: ‘My father would meet with Trump’

As a war of words plays out between President-elect Donald Trump and Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, one is left to wonder what MLK Jr. would have done in the wake of the 2016 election. >> Read more trending stories  Two days before her famous father's birthday, the daughter of the civil rights icon answered that question...
Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments
Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter waded into controversial territory over the weekend when he wrote a Facebook post calling U.S. Rep. John Lewis -- a civil rights legend already locked in a war of words with President-elect Donald Trump -- a “racist pig.” The reaction to Hunter, a Republican, taking on Lewis a few days before...
More Stories