Renewed push to monitor other drugs besides opioids - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Renewed push to monitor other drugs besides opioids

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

To date, the focus of Ohio's drug monitoring program has been on the over-prescribing of opiates.

Now with the latest deadly overdose figures, the focus will pivot to the prescribing of drugs like Adderall, Dexedrine, and Ritalin.

Since it went into effect in 2006, the Ohio Automatic Rx Reporting System, or OARRS, has been part of the workflow for pharmacists like Dennis Nisbett.

Now, as the state continues to muddle through the grips of the opioid crisis, "there is some renewed interest and some directive from the State (Pharmacy) Board to monitor the schedule two stimulants," said Nisbett.

He and his colleagues have been keeping a sharper eye on other drugs like Ritalin and Adderall.

"We definitely check the OARRS for any overlap in medications, not getting them from different doctors, things like that," Nisbett said.

And much like with opioids, there's a dangerous reason why.

"The C2 stimulants do have cash value on the streets, people trade them for other meds," said Nisbett.

"It could be lethal," adds Carolyn Givens, executive director of the Neil Kennedy Recovery Centers. For her and other mental health professionals, the extra monitoring can be a fine line to walk so as to not interfere with pharmacists or the prescribing doctors.

"We have policies that would alert the patient and say to them, 'When you come to us, we're going to ask what meds you're on, then educate you on the fact that some of these might interfere with your recovery process,'" Givens says.

But given how devastating the abuse of opioids and other drugs has been for the region and the nation, both sides agree that it's right to err on the side of caution.

The guidelines for the OARRS program are stringent.
Reports have to be filed within a day of the drug being dispensed even on days where no drugs are dispensed - in which case a "zero report" is filed.

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