MARIETTA, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Gov. John Kasich spent much of his State of the State address Wednesday night talking about the heroin epidemic.
He specifically called for Ohio to begin registering pharmacy technicians, which would allow the state to track bad actors. He also called for restricting prescription painkillers and intensifying scrutiny on new drug treatment clinics by limiting the dispensing of painkiller prescriptions to 90 days and invalidating any prescriptions that haven’t been brought to the pharmacy within 30 days of issuance.
Kortney Gherardi is program director at Austintown’s Braking Point Recovery Center, where a detox facility opened in September and an inpatient recovery area will open next week. While Gherardi was pleased with the Governor’s prescription plan, she said it could be even tougher, suggesting painkilling prescriptions not be filled after seven to 10 days.
“Most of the people that we see here at our facility, that’s where it started. They started using prescription drugs, and it was hard for them to find after they got cut off from their doctor or whatever the case may be, and then they turned to heroin,” Gherardi said.
Gov. Kasich also reminded everyone about a state program called Start Talking. Conversations with kids about the dangers of drugs, says Kasich, could “reduce the likelihood of starting kids down a path of drug addiction by 50 percent.
Gherardi said she agrees with that part of the Governor’s plan, as well.
“The kids aren’t getting the education behind what their life will turn out like if they use drugs,” she said.
On Wednesday, Kasich cited two other statistics. He said the number of prescriptions for pain medicine has dropped 12 percent in four years, and doctor shopping has dropped 70 percent in five years.