During the past several weeks, as I have talked to constituents, many have brought up the issue of pill mills. Besides preserving freedom, securing public safety is probably the most important issue addressed by government.

Most of you recall the myriad problems that our area of the state was dealing with regarding the existence and operation of pill mills. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported last year that prescription drug abuse was the fastest-growing drug problem in the country, and it was responsible for thousands of Ohioans’ deaths in recent years.

This tragic problem not only afflicted those who engaged in reckless behavior; in fact, unintentional drug overdoses were the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, more than motor vehicle crashes and suicide. The highest death rates caused by prescription drug overdoses were in southern Ohio.

Obviously, this was a problem with fatal consequences that needed to be addressed. Last year, Governor Kasich signed into law House Bill 93, legislation that passed with bipartisan support (unanimously in the House) to strengthen the protections against prescription drug abuse. The bill included provisions that effectively shut down the operation of pill mills, which are illegitimate clinics or pharmacies that irresponsibly give out drug prescriptions that result in increased incidence of addiction.

The legislation also enhanced the Ohio Automated Rx Review System, which diminishes the potential for drug abuse and simplifies the process of tracking individuals who have drug-seeking behavior. This was a big step in the right direction to tackle a problem that kills, on average, four Ohioans every day.

Additionally, in May of this year, the House passed legislation that would provide further protections against dangerous drug use. House Bill 334 would make it easier to track and regulate over-the-counter sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, substances used to make harmful methamphetamines.

That legislation essentially would increase the flow of information, which would be administered between the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and the Ohio attorney general. Information gathered by this association would be shared at no cost with state and local law enforcement.

As a father, it is important to me that my children and everyone else's children grow up in a safe environment. I proudly supported these bills because I believe they effectively address an issue that was growing out of control in Ohio. Thanks to HB 93, pill mills are now shut down in Ohio, people are getting the help they need, and our state is better for it.


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