by Lucia Byttebier
June 5, 2017
Last week, the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that he was filing a lawsuit against five manufacturers of prescription opioids because they overstated their benefits to patients and diminished the impact of addiction. Ohio has experienced substantial damage to its budget because of the increased need for addiction treatment, more children in the foster care system, increased numbers of individuals entering the judicial system and the increasing crime rate. These prescription opioid manufacturers are akin to the street level dealers. In 2016, physicians wrote prescriptions that delivered 631,000,000 million prescription opioids to Ohioans. There was also an aspect of the Affordable Care Act that increased the volume of prescription drugs. Patients were asked to complete surveys and if they complained of pain, the reimbursement rate for physicians and institutions could be negatively impacted. This encouraged physicians to proscribe medication to treat pain, even if they had doubts as to whether it was necessary.
In March 2017, Governor John Kasich signed legislation limiting the number of opioid prescriptions issued by physicians and dentists to seven days for adults and five days for children. Prescription opioids created the path to other and often illicit opioids. The fatal overdose death rate in Ohio per capita surpassed California in 2014. Every day, there are eleven Ohioans losing their battle with a fatal overdose. Cuyahoga County is on track to witness 775 fatal overdoses this is an increase of 30% since 2016.
Even with a reduction in prescription opioids, the volume of heroin, fentanyl and synthetic opioids are stronger is less expensive for addicts and can be even stronger. The Women’s Recovery Center is witnessing recovery every day.