Prescription/Opiate Task Force
Since 2007, more Ohioans have died as a result of overdose than in motor vehicle crashes. The opiate family, which includes prescription painkillers and heroin, are culpable in nearly two-thirds of those deaths. “Little Pill, Big Problem: Ohio’s Opiate Story” is a 3-minute motion graphic produced by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services that highlights the scope of Ohio’s opiate epidemic and illustrates some of the steps the State of Ohio is taking to fight to resolve the problem. This updated version includes updated statistics from 2011 and includes a link to “Don’t Get Me Started Ohio” — a new website dedicated to prescription painkiller awareness, prevention and treatment.
For information about the Findlay/Hancock County medication collections click on this link: Medication Collection Postcard – Fall 2012 & Spring 2013
Medication abuse is on an alarming rise. In March of 2008, during the Community Partnership’s annual Focus Group meetings, prescription and over-the-counter abuse was brought to the Council’s attention as a topic area to watch. According to the Ohio Department of Health, Violence and Injury Prevention Program, in 2007 and 2008, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in Ohio.
Those medications that are primarily being abused are called Opiates. Examples of Opiates are Fentanyl, Oxycodone (OxyContin ®), Hydrocodone (Vicodin ®), and methadone. Other prescription medications that are being abused include Diazepam (Valium ®), Alprazolam (Xanax ®), and some stimulants such as Adderall ® and Ritalin ®. These medications are very addictive and also very expensive.
All age groups have been found to have been affected by this addiction. There is no one group that is at a higher percentage of addiction however, the highest death rate in 2006-2008 was for 45-54 year olds (Ohio Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics 2010).
What Has Been Done in Hancock County?:
In September of 2008 representatives from the City of Findlay Health Department, Water Pollution Control, and Police Department, Rader Environmental Services, Inc., Community Partnership and The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy began meeting to organize a medication collection program. There have been three collections held (April 2009, October 2009 & April 2010). Of these three collections there have been over 189,076 tablets/capsules collected with an average wholesale price of over $200,000.
In January of 2010 representatives from the Findlay Police Department, Hancock METRICH Drug Enforcement Unit, Century Health, Inc, Hancock County Common Pleas Court, Family Resource Center, Blanchard Valley Hospital, Anhedonia, LLC (Suboxone Clinic), The University of Findlay, and the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services met with The Courier to present the issue of Opiate and heroin abuse and addiction.
On April 2, 2010 Governor Strickland signed an Executive Order establishing the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force (OPDATF). According to the Executive Summary of the Initial Report from this Task Force, the group was “charged with meeting regularly to discuss the issue of prescription drug abuse problem in the State and recommend potential remedies, including various strategies to alleviate the danger it poses to the citizens of Ohio”.
On May 5, 2010, John Stanovich, The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, Precia Stuby and Andrea Altman from the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services presented the Hancock County Medication/Mercury Collection Program at the OPDATF meeting. This presentation was very well received and was referred to in the Initial Report (Page 8 & 12) from the Task Force as a potential model for a state-wide collection program.
On May 18, 2010 the Hancock County Community Partnership made a decision to focus a majority of their efforts to the issue of medication abuse. The Council established the need for a separate Hancock County task force which will develop a plan of action for community awareness and education of this serious problem in the following areas.
Task Force Focus Areas:
John Stanovich, Assistant Dean, The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, has agreed to serve as the Task Force Chair.
Community (Co-Chairs: Mark Miller & Kimberly Bash):
- Education regarding Opiate addiction and abuse (including tracking and reporting of county and city statistics)
- Communicate possible ways to decrease the issue in Hancock County (medication collection participation, safe storage of medications, etc)
- Awareness of treatment options in Hancock County
Health Care Professionals (Co-Chairs: Barb Wilhelm & Dr. William Kose):
- Encourage professional development and education regarding Opiate addiction and abuse
- Increase awareness of the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) and increase the number of registered providers
- Increase awareness of the treatment options available in Hancock County
Education (Co-Chairs: Craig Kupferberg & Tim Kruse):
- Develop educational resources for awareness of Opiate abuse and addiction
- Develop strategies for prevention efforts within all levels of education
- Educate staff and faculty on signs and symptoms of abuse, addiction and treatment options
Medication Collection (Co-Chairs: Randy Greeno & Joe Rader/Bruce Deppen):
- Increase awareness of the collection program
- Encourage safe storage between collection times
- Increase amount of medication collected
Legislative Committee (Chair: Phil Riegle)
- Review current and future laws at local, State and Federal level concerning prescription and opiate abuse
- Recommend changes to current laws and suggest legislation
In The News
1 in 4 High School Seniors Report Past-Month Usage of Marijuana Illicit Drug Use Among Teens Holds Steady, Shows Modest Declines Flanked by senior leadership from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Office of National Drug Control Policy(ONDCP) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), researchers from