Pharmacists meeting in Niles discuss opioid epidemic - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Pharmacists meeting in Niles discuss opioid epidemic

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NILES, Ohio -

The opioid epidemic sweeping the nation was one of the topics discussed by members of the Eastern Ohio Pharmacists Association this past weekend.

Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni (D) was there asking the group of 200 pharmacists about some of the issues they may experience in the workplace. 

"I sensed a lot of frustration from them. They are just trying to serve people and help people and they want to be able to have that human interaction with their patients and when you hammer them with a bunch of different requirements. It's hard to do that," said Senator Schiavoni. 

In Ohio, there is no law mandating the amount of breaks pharmacists can take during a shift or the maximum amount of prescriptions they can fill in an hour.

In Illinois, a bill is pending that considers these factors. Senator Schiavoni discussed with the group if that's something Ohio needs to consider. 

"I wanted to come and actually talk to the pharmacists and I think they do have some pressures. I don't know if they are willing to say they need to unionize or they are willing to say we need this legislation in order to survive. It seems like more of the problems were coming from the pricing and dealing with the cost and distribution and the explanation to the patients," Senator Schiavoni said.

Ray Carlson of the Pharmacists Association told 21 News, the opioid addiction rate is the biggest problem and they are urging the state consider the legislation. 

"Seventy-five percent of heroin overdoses began with prescription pain medication and we feel that pharmacists are a key component of the drug distribution," said Carlson.  

Some states are creating a non-opioid directive put into patients medical files. This will notify doctors if the person does not want a certain medication. Pennsylvania passed similar legislation last year.

Even though opioid use is a problem in the Valley, Ohio Pharmacists Association executive director Ernest Boyd disagrees with this legislation. "If you have something on file that says never give me a narcotic, I sure wouldn't want to be the person who gets into a fire or severe pain situation and somebody says, sorry I can't give you anything you have a form you signed," said Boyd.  

He said the best way to stop addiction before it starts is to clean out medicine cabinets. 

"Over 60% of the young people who end up taking narcotics say they started by getting into the medicine cabinet at home. So, if the public wants something simple to help, clean the medicine cabinets out and get rid of any narcotics that you don't need," Boyd said. 

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