Whether it’s working every day to improve Ohio’s economic climate, to passing a budget that will keep the state operational for two full years, the legislature works tirelessly to improve the economic lives of Ohioans. While economic livelihoods are very important, we sometimes deal with legislation that truly saves lives. This General Assembly, we have taken dramatic steps to save lives by passing legislation geared toward combating prescription drug abuse, a problem that claims the lives of nearly four Ohioans every single day.

We started this fight last year with the unanimous passage of House Bill 93. It contains provisions that will shut down pill mills and enhance the Ohio Automated Rx Review System. Because of it, there is less potential for abuse, which has been a growing problem in Ohio. Additionally, it makes it easier to track down those who have drug-seeking behavior.

This past week, the Ohio House furthered those efforts to protect against the misuse of dangerous drugs by passing House Bill 334, sponsored by Representatives Terry Johnson and Danny Bubp—both from southern Ohio. Through this bill, we will be able to track and better regulate over-the-counter sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, which are used in the making of dangerous methamphetamines.

Under the legislation, those who sell and distribute the drugs would be required to participate in the National Precursor Log Exchange, which is an exchange that allows for the electronic tracking of the drugs. It is administered by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, and under the bill, Ohio’s attorney general could enter into an agreement at no cost with the association so that the information gained can be used by state and local law enforcement to identify those who might be illegally using pseudoephedrine and ephedrine.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005, which was passed by Congress, requires that the sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine be regulated. It limits the purchase of the drugs in a single transaction to no more than 3.6 grams per day. HB 334 applies this limit to state law and sets controls on ephedrine that had already been written into state law for pseudoephedrine.

If a person tries to buy more than the daily or monthly limit of these drugs under HB 334, the exchange will alert the retailer. As a result, the sale will not go forward. This is truly the next step in strengthening law enforcement and preventing illegal drug activity from taking place.

Both House Bill 334 and House Bill 93 were passed unanimously by the members of the Ohio House. Fighting the illegal use of drugs is something that Republicans and Democrats have been able to come together on, and I’m proud that the House has been able to address these issues during this General Assembly.


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