Ohio Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville, introduced a bill this week aimed at fighting Ohio’s opioid crisis through prescription drug reform.
House Bill 167, introduced by Edwards at a Wednesday press conference, would limit the dosage of prescription opioids for acute pain that physicians can prescribe. This would require physicians to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that suggest limiting the number of pain pills prescribed to a three-to-seven day supply unless the physician offered an alternative treatment program.
“Long-term opioid use often begins with treatment of acute pain,” the CDC guidelines read. “When opioids are used for acute pain, clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose of immediate-release opioids and should prescribe no greater quantity than needed for the expected duration of pain severe enough to require opioids.”
The bill would also offer an outpatient education program online. Additionally, it would require training in non-addictive alternatives for those who oversee treatment programs that include controlled substances.
“It is something that needs done,” Edwards said in the press conference. “It’s a giant step of many that have been taken already, but I think it’s a giant step in the right direction and I think it goes without saying that this fight needs to continue beyond this bill.”
The bill, also known as “Daniel’s Law,” refers to Daniel Weidle of Montgomery County, who died of a drug overdose in 2015. His father, Scott Weidle, spoke about his son’s story at the press conference.
“The medical discrimination of the disease of addiction I have witnessed was a significant factor in Daniel losing his battle,” Weidle said. “We have a moral obligation as a state and society to break the cycle and do everything we can to influence positive change to this issue.”
Weidle called his son’s death a “medical system failure story,” and Edwards said this bill was a “standard, common sense approach” to the prescription opioid epidemic in Ohio that many like Daniel Weidle face.
“As legislators we need to be mindful of the fact that when we write laws we do our work with real people in mind,” Edwards said, referring to the bill’s alternate name.
A similar piece of legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Republican Bob Hackett of London. Hackett said he wants to work together to further educate primary-care doctors about the perils of over-prescribing.
“I personally have great confidence in the physician community, I know that they will work with us,” Hackett said at the press conference. “I think this is a problem that everybody is really facing and everybody needs to work together.”
Ohio led the nation in overdose deaths in 2014. In 2015, prescription opioid overdoses accounted for near 22 percent of the 3,050 unintentional overdose deaths in Ohio, according to a report from the Ohio Department of Health.
“Hopefully this will also serve many other families from living the nightmare that I have and continue to live with every day,” Wiedle said.