Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is making a valiant effort in the war against opioid addiction. He is currently pushing a bill, called The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act, to try and expand the amount of addiction treatment centers and programs in Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Currently, the numbers are dismal.
A packed house
Dr. Mark Piacentini knows all about this. His medical practice is packed with patients desperate for addiction treatment. Yet he still receives numerous calls a day from more awaiting patients, who he does not have room for. Piacentini told the publication that his waiting list has expanded to 200 to 300 people at times.
Brown’s bill would give health care providers a little more freedom in how many patients they can treat and prescribe to daily. Currently, physicians can only treat 30 patients a day who battle addiction. His bill would bump that number up to 100. Nurse practitioners could also treat patients.
Though the Buckeye State has won a few small battles in the war against heroin and opioid addiction, it is far from over. In 2012, there were a record-breaking 1,914 overdose deaths in the state. As the death toll rises, the number of treatment centers does not. The Ohio Department of Health’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program reported in 2012 that the rate of drug overdoses in Ohio is rising faster than the national average. The amount of overdoses also exceeded the amount of motor vehicle deaths in the state beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2012.
In a conference on Sept. 2, Brown stated that it is easier for residents to get heroin than it is for them to get treatment. Brown spoke at the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board in Franklin County. Brown’s bill is sponsored by five other democrats.
The benefits of proper treatment
Clearly, treatment works for those who face heroin and prescription pill addiction. Ohio resident Eric Carrico owes everything to treatment.
Before going to an addiction treatment center, Carrico was living on the streets, desperately searching for drugs and eating out of dumpsters, he told the newspaper. Like so many others, Carrico’s addiction began with prescription pills and segued into heroin when his prescription ran out. Thanks to a treatment center in Columbus, Carrico has now been sober for the past two years, has an 8-month-old son and an apartment.
Ohio will hopefully put this law into effect soon. Another bill, Bill 314, requires parents or guardians to sign a consent form before their children are prescribed opioids. Lawmakers believe this bill holds parents accountable for their children’s health. The consent form is called “Start Talking,” and has parents consent a full 48 hours before the painkillers or other opioids are prescribed.