Ohio: deaths from Rx opiates DOWN 15%… UP 36% from illegal opiates.. WINNING THE BATTLE ?

Kasich hopes pain-pill limits will reduce opioid addiction


Ohioans and their medical-care providers face stricter limits on pain-pill prescriptions beginning Thursday as the state seeks to choke off abuse leading to opioid addiction.

Likening opioid pain prescriptions to a “loaded gun,” Gov. John Kasich said the restrictions hold the promise of preventing abuse and keeping excess pain pills off Ohio’s streets.

The new requirements prohibit doctors, dentists and others from prescribing more than seven days of opioids — five days for minors — for treatment of pain.

Refills can be prescribed only if physicians and others document the need for extending pain-relief medication.

Medical-licensing and pharmacy boards are monitoring the prescribing of opioids with an eye toward cracking down on medical professionals who prescribe opioids without medical justification.

“You violate these guidelines and the medical board will come after you,” Kasich said of physicians who could face the loss of their licenses.

The limits do not apply to opioids prescribed for cancer, palliative care, end-of-life care and medication-assisted treatment for addiction.

The heads of the medical, nursing and pharmacy boards all joined Kasich in saying the new limits will help Ohio rein in an out-of-control opioid crisis that kills thousands each year.

“There is some light shining through right now,” Kasich said. Voluntary prescribing guidelines have cut the number of overdose deaths from opioid prescriptions from 667 in 2015 to 564 in 2016, he said.

 Meanwhile, the number of opioid prescriptions have dropped by 20 percent, or 109 million doses, since 2012, said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

State officials say 74 percent of those who died from drug overdoses in 2015 previously had received legally prescribed opioids.

Kasich said the number of deaths from heroin also are leveling off, but cautioned, “We’re not out of the woods.” Fentanyl, a powerful man-made opioid, increasingly is killing more Ohioans as it is laced into cocaine and other drugs, the governor said.

A federal grant will help pay for a campaign called “Take Charge Ohio” that will begin in October and seek to educate medical professionals and patients about alternatives to pills to treating pain.

More than 4,100 Ohioans died from accidental drug overdoses, largely from opioids, last year, according to a Dispatch survey of county coroners. That number represented a 36-percent increase in OD deaths from 2015, when Ohio led the nation with 3,050 deaths.

The Kasich administration says Ohio spends $1 billion a year to fight opioids, with about two-thirds of that coming from Medicaid coverage of drug-addiction treatment for poor Ohioans. The legislature added nearly $180 million of additional funding in the new two-year budget.

Kasich continues to defend his expansion of Medicaid to more than 700,000 additional Ohioans to help combat drug addiction.

“Think about where Ohio would be … if we hadn’t expanded Medicaid. To kind of keep debating this and wringing our hands because we got some right wingers somewhere who want to kill this program … if we cut this money off, if you take this money away, you will not have the resources needed.”

A 20% drop in prescribed opiates resulting in 103 fewer OD deaths … but .. OD’s from illegal opiates up 1050..  Anyone wonder how many people committed suicide in 2015 and 2016.. No one wants to talk about that ?

3 Responses

  1. I am confused. I was at my pain specialists office yesterday. I don’t like going there but that is who I am with. I have had chronic pain for several years having several back problems that are supported by X-ray and MRI as well as written documentation. Currently taking 4 qty of 7.5 Norco per day and have been for some time. I also take muscle relaxers, gabapentin, Triazolam for sleep and several other non pain meds.

    I have started having spine injections and yesterday I asked if there was a different brand of pain medication that may work better. I was told we could try a different one if this one did not help. That was several months ago.

    The Dr. told me they have to prescribe EVERYONE less medication because of the Governor and new Ohio State Law. The Dr. said whereas I usually receive a 30 day supply of 120 gty tablets. They can only write for 90 tablets now?

    Can you tell me if chronic back problems/pain that is well documented and has been for years is considered chronic pain or acute. I have the pain 24/7 it is just a matter of to what degree I am hurting at any given time but there is always pain. Sometimes debilitating and I have home health care.

    I am scarred that next month when I will receive less medication I will be in a lot of pain. Already I hurt really badly when it is around time for my next scheduled dose.

    I also have lymphedema and require homecare.

  2. Ohio has passed regulations at least 3 times since 2011. Each time, their overdose death rates increased greatly. Pull up any graph of Ohio and it’s clearly shown. These elected bureaucrats are dumber than a box of rocks. Addicts will simply move on to another substance that is high in demand while legitimate pain patients suffer to the point of suicide or desperately searching for relief on the streets. What part of that do they NOT understand?

  3. I left the following comment at the Times Reporter:

    Unfortunately for the tens of thousands of chronic pain patients whose lives Kasich is destroying by denial of effective pain relief, his “solution” is a non-starter. The “loaded gun” analogy is outright stupid. The so-called “epidemic” of opioid-related deaths is for the most part caused by street drugs: heroin, imported fentanyl, morphine stolen from hospital dispensaries, multiple drugs stolen from community pharmacies, Methadone diverted from community treatment programs. Drugs given under prescription are a distant last in this debacle. When Massachusetts did a trace between opioid-related deaths and prescriptions, they found that fewer than a quarter of those who died had a current prescription.

    As acknowledged by an official of the National Institutes on Drug Abuse during the first meeting of the Christie Commission, 90% of addicts begin abusing in their teens . This is an age where only a small minority have ever seen a physician for pain severe enough to prompt prescription of an opiod. Until the FDA forced reformulation of Oxycontin in abuse-resistant form in 2010, hundreds of thousands were abusing pills stolen from home medicine closets and pharmacies or “shared” by well meaning adults. In the five years after the FDA action, prescriptions dropped by two-thirds and heroin deaths tripled. The relationship is obvious: addicts who had diverted Oxy or shammed pain to get it went into the street to sustain their addictions.

    To assert that drying up the supply of opioids will have any effect at all on opioid deaths is just outright stupid. Advocates for gun control have been making the same assertion for decades — and just look at how THAT is working out.

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