Here in Ohio, the state government has been working hard to combat the opioid addiction crisis in our communities. Recently, I was proud to vote with my fellow legislators and support the passage of Senate Bill 319.
Senate Bill 319 tackles many different aspects of the opioid addiction epidemic. A key provision permits naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication, to be bought and administered by trained professionals at locations that serve individuals that may be at risk for an opioid overdose. I applaud this endeavor, which will put naloxone in the hands of professional staff in places like schools, universities, probation departments, halfway houses, and homeless shelters in order to help in a time of crisis.
One problem in combatting addiction is the lack of access to treatment, especially medication-assisted treatment. Access to methadone, an effective form of medication-assisted treatment, is highly regulated and it can be difficult to obtain a license in order to operate a methadone clinic. Senate Bill 319 lifts the burdensome requirements regarding the licensing procedures for methadone clinics, increasing access to much needed treatment options for all Ohioans.
Since 2013, more than one-third of all drug theft cases investigated by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy involved pharmacy technicians. Senate Bill 319 addresses this problem by creating a registry of pharmacy technicians statewide. This development will prevent a technician who commits drug theft from easily getting hired in another location. Furthermore, this registry will improve background check protocol in order to prevent technicians with previous drug charges from gaining access to controlled substances.
Additionally, in Ohio, many who are addicted gain access to opioids by abusing prescriptions from other individuals. This bill will reduce illegal access to opioids by restricting outpatient prescriptions to a 90-day supply and by cancelling any opioid prescription that is not filled within 14 days.
I am truly proud of the work that we’ve done so far here in the legislature and by the administration to address Ohio’s opioid epidemic. I believe that Senate Bill 319 is a huge step forward in reaching a solution to this issue. With continued research and collaboration among all interested parties, we can revive Ohio’s public health.