Ohio strengthens Opioid prescribing guidelines - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Ohio strengthens Opioid prescribing guidelines

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

In an effort to continue fighting the misuse and abuse of prescription pain medications, Governor John Kasich announced new state guidelines for prescribing opioids to patients with acute pain that is generally resolved in less than 12 weeks. 

The new guidelines recommend alternative treatment options when possible and limiting the amount of opioids when appropriate. 

"Too many families are being torn apart by drugs and that is why we have been so proactive in exploring new ways to prevent Ohioans from becoming addicted to prescription opioids," said Governor Kasich in a news release. "Building upon prescribing guidelines we established for emergency departments and chronic pain, these new protocols for treating short term pain will strengthen our efforts to fight abuse and ultimately save lives."

Prescription opioids remain a significant factor to unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio. The hope is that doctors will prescribe only the minimum quantity necessary to reduce the number of leftover unused painkillers for potential abuse.

"An individual might have a prescription, they may only use it for 2 or 3 days, if its been written for 30 days, the balance of that prescription sits in their home and is available either for to be redirected or misused and you don't want to see that happen," says Mahoning County Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney. "So this kind of a law putting in place the restrictions on the numbers or duration of a prescription is a good thing long term."

In 2014, more than 262 million opioid doses were dispensed in Ohio for the management of acute pain - 35 percent of the state's 750 million total dispensed opioid doses.

Some alternative treatment options could include ice, heat, massage therapy and physical therapy. 

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