Ohio and Pennsylvania senators hope to decrease overdoses with legislation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Heroin overdoses often begin with an addiction to opiods, and as addictions skyrocket, so do deaths from drug overdoses.

In the state of Pennsylvania, drugs are taking more lives than car accidents. In fact, the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the top 10 states for drug overdoses in the U.S.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) said he believes if there is more regulation on prescription records, it would help decrease these numbers.

“If you have someone walking into a pharmacy, and they already have been to several other pharmacies, and they are gathering opiods — or painkillers — we’ve got to be able to track that so you don’t have someone who is going down that path,” he said.

Casey also told WKBN that from 2009 to 2014, the number of overdose deaths went from 47 to 800 in Pennsylvania.

“The physicians, the nurse practitioners, those in the healthcare community have not only the resources they need but the ability to provide as much treatment as possible,” he said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said another important piece of the puzzle is to protect infants from early exposure to painkillers.

On Thursday, a bill he co-sponsored passed a key committee to advance in the Senate.

The Protecting Our Infants Act would help prevent and treat prenatal painkillers abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome. It is designed to make sure fewer children face this troubling problem.

“Our bipartisan legislation, I’m hopeful, can begin to sort of unravel that and help prevent this from happening and to understand better how it does and what to do when a child is born addicted like that,” he said.

In 2013, 1,024 babies in Ohio died before their first birthday.

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