opioid epidemic

Ohio Opioid Limits Pushed By Gov. Kasich, Will Patients In Pain Now Suffer More?

Ohio Governor John Kasich revealed a new order this week that will limit opioid prescriptions to just seven days. No longer will doctors or dentists be allowed to write 90-day prescriptions to chronic pain sufferers, except with a few exceptions, to combat what the governor has deemed a plague on the Buckeye State.

Governor Kasich’s opioid limits rule was reportedly written to prevent and curtail prescription drug addiction. Exceptions for cancer patients and the terminally ill patients already in hospice care were included in the new order, according to report by MSN.

Going back to the doctor every seven days until a physical condition no longer requires pain medication could be a substantial financial and logistical hardship for many Ohioans. Residents in rural areas sometimes have to drive an hour to see their doctor. If the patient is the holder of an Obamacare policy, the cost of repeat appointments could cause hundreds of extra dollars in medical bills on a monthly basis, forcing them to decide between making rent or taking care of their health problem.

“By reducing the availability of unused prescription opiates, fewer Ohioans will be presented with opportunities to misuse these highly addictive medications,” John Kasich said in a prepared statement.

The opiates rule limits primary care physicians from prescribing the potentially addictive medications to juveniles for more than five days at a time. Doctors and dentists must now also include both a specific diagnosis and procedure code for every single painkiller prescription written for a patient.

“You’re going to have to abide by these rules,” Governor John Kasich said when relaying his sentiments about the force the Ohio’s opioids limits will carry within the medical community.

“We all need to stick our noses into somebody else’s business,” the governor added to drive home his point that doctors and lawmakers cannot stop the opioid epidemic all by themselves.

The Ohio State Medical Board, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, and the state nursing board and dental board all support Governor Kasich’s new opioid limits. The Ohio opioid limit rule was announced just one day after legislators in both the state Senate and House introduced a similar set of prescription drug dosage limits and the creation of online drug addiction counseling and education programs, according to a Columbus Dispatch report.

In 2017, the city of Columbus experienced one fatal fentanyl overdose per day. The extremely powerful painkiller is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA also maintains fentanyl is about 25 to 50 times stronger than heroin.

Four Ohio counties were so overwhelmed with fatal drug overdose cases that their respective coroners had to requisition “cold storage mass casualty” trailers to store all of the bodies in until they could be processed and sent to funeral homes because they had run out of space in their morgues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the drug epidemic is bad in Ohio and in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie is pushing a similar opioids limit rule, but it is far worse in other states. Kentucky, New Hampshire, and West Virginia have each experienced an even higher number of fatal drug overdose cases in recent years.

According to the Fighting Opioid Abuse website by the Ohio Governor’s Office, accidental drug overdoses caused the deaths of 2,482 Ohioans in 2014. In 2013, 2,110 residents died from drug overdoses. The 17.6 percent increase in overdoses also reportedly indicated a spike in cases involving fentanyl.

The number opioid prescriptions dispensed to Ohioans decreased substantially, by about 42 million doses, from 2012 to 2014. Ohio taxpayers also provided the funds necessary to purchase more Naxolone, a drug which reverses the effects of a potentially fatal drug overdose.

What do you think about the new Ohio opioid prescription limits?

[Featured Image by Steve Heap/Shutterstock]

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