The (Findlay) Courier, Jan. 13
With Ohio’s heroin epidemic still going strong, officials must use every weapon to halt it. That includes going to the heart of the problem: prescription pain medications.
Many of those who overdose on heroin first became addicted to legal opiates, such as OxyContin or Vicodin.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, both said Jan. 11 they support new prescribing guidelines proposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidelines would be for primary-care physicians and are intended to curb addiction by encouraging patients to use over-the-counter painkillers first, recommending prescription time limits, urging lower doses, and monitoring people taking opiates.
If approved later this year, the guidelines would be advisory, not mandatory, but could go a long way to influence physicians, insurers, and government agencies.
Doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012. That number has been declining since, but it is still considered to be too high by many experts.
Sprague, who has become Ohio’s point man in the war on heroin, hopes the guidelines will cut down on the number of opiates prescribed and, in turn, reduce the number of people who turn to heroin.
The epidemic has not yet peaked…