Ohio Enacted Legislation to Combat Prescription Abuse
Interviewer: Is there a major problem as in Florida, where there are a lot of doctors who will over prescribe or prescribe to anyone. I think they call them “pill mills.” Do you have that problem in the Youngstown, Trumbull County area?
Adam: We don’t have as much of a problem because they enacted legislation to try to combat this abuse. Now first of all, a person couldn’t go to a different pharmacy with a prescription while they had an active prescription within a week of filling something. They do monitor the prescriptions in Ohio.
They might see that somebody’s receiving an excessive amount of what should be prescribed over a prolonged period, so they could potentially catch abusers through their pharmaceutical records.
How Are Prescription Medication Abusers Caught in Ohio?
Interviewer: Let’s say my doctor is prescribing me 30 Oxycodones a week. At some point, the pharmacy could even step in and say, “Hey, this is too much,” and stop you from getting the prescription?
Adam: No, what would happen is that all the activity is reported through a central database. A probation officer could find out by searching their probationers. They could search their name and see if they’ve been prescribed something that they’re not supposed to because they’re on probation.
Another major issue is if you went to Dr. A and he prescribed you painkillers and next week you go to Dr. B and he prescribes you the same drug. If you try and take the prescription to another pharmacy, they’re going to see there’s an issue there right away. You probably won’t get that second prescription refilled. There may be an issue as to how the authorities are following up on these cases.
Interviewer: The information is apparently becoming more centralized. Up until just recently, people would go to one pharmacy and have a prescription filled and then get another prescription and go to another pharmacy. It seems as if people thought the pharmacies didn’t have a centralized database?
Adam: Yes, that is correct.
Has This Legislation Been Successful in Deterring Abuse of the System?
Interviewer: Have you seen that centralized database cut down on the number of people abusing the prescription system, or not really?
Adam: It has helped to a degree. I think that obviously most people who have intentions of abusing the system know that they’re being watched if they were to do something like that. They may have found ways around it. I’m sure that some still do it, but there has been a slight decline, at least.
Interviewer: Or people just shift to illegal drugs, like heroin, in its purest forms.
Adam: Yes, that is right as well.
By Adam Hunt