Lawmakers take on drug crisis as Clark County OD deaths hit record

State lawmakers introduced a plan Wednesday to combat the growing drug crisis in Ohio as a record number of Clark County residents died from overdoses last year.

Sen. Bob Hackett, R-London, who represents Clark, Greene and Madison counties, is co-sponsoring the bill that would align Ohio law with guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control.

READ MORE: Clark County to charge addicts who OD and don’t seek treatment

“You have seen the number of Narcan incidents in Clark County. I was with a fire chief there and he said a number of people coming in with this issue are coming from opiate prescriptions first,” Hackett said.

Narcan is the antidote that can halt an overdose of heroin and other drugs and save the life of the user. Hackett’s proposal would place new restrictions on how many pills could be prescribed and the time span over which the patient could receive them. The restrictions would be placed not only on doctors in Ohio but also dentists across the state.

The bill is dubbed “Daniel’s Law” for Daniel Weidle of Germantown, who lost his battle with opiate addiction in 2015. Since then his father, Scott Weidle, has championed the cause to change state laws and limit the prescription of powerful medications.

“Ohio is a leader in the nation is opioid over-prescription and opioid deaths, not a title anyone should be proud of,” Scott Weidle said.

RELATED: Demand for, debate over Narcan soars in Springfield

Advocates claim eight people a day are dying from drug-related deaths.

Scott Weidle said his son’s problems with drugs began with experimentation in high school. Later Daniel Weidle was exposed to prescription opioids.

“He found that to be on the drug that cured some of the things that he maybe was not being treated for, whether it be anxiety or attention deficit, he found that it was something that made him feel better,” Weidle said.

His son’s death on the day after Christmas in 2015 prompted Weidle to dedicate himself to help other families so that they don’t go through the same pain and suffering. One death, he said, affects the lives of many other friends and family members.

DETAILS: Overdose epidemic spreads, strains Springfield first responders

“The devastation that happens to the family network is significant and tremendous and it has shaken my world to the core,” Weidle said.

The recent double-overdose fatality in Centerville of a mother and father who were discovered by their children prompted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who previously represented Centerville in the Ohio Senate, to join the effort to find answers to the drug problem.

“We are losing eight people a day and most of them started with prescription opiates. It is not just those people we are losing. It is also the children. Almost two children per 100 are being born addicted, going through withdrawal symptoms in their first week of life,” Husted said.

Under the bill, medical professionals would receive more training about prescribing powerful opioids. Tim Maglione, spokesman for the Ohio State Medical Association, said a dozen other regulations have already been put in place that doctors are already following on this issue.

EARLIER COVERAGE: Clark Co. hospital, EMS resources stretched as overdoses spike again

“In the last four years the number of opioid prescriptions has gone down by 162 million doses, which is about 20 percent,” Maglione said. “We are on a good path now. This legislation will continue to generate discussion about how much faster we can reduce the overall supply and we look forward to having that conversation with the legislature.”

The effort to control prescription medications has also drawn the attention of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich is set to announce his own plan Thursday at a Statehouse news conference, joined by representatives of several state medical regulatory boards. Those boards, appointed by the governor, could adopt additional regulations on their own with approval from a legislative oversight panel, and without going to the full legislature for passage of a new law.


Special Report: Healthy Springfield

Springfield man indicted, accused of bringing heroin into jail

Finding work key to cutting crime, saving money in Clark County

Springfield partnership shows promise for heroin-addicted moms, babies

Springfield employers learn about heroin’s impact on brain, workers

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Here’s how you could join New Carlisle city council
Here’s how you could join New Carlisle city council

New Carlisle is seeking candidates for a vacant spot on its city council. A seat on its seven-member council opened up after former Council Member Jim Leathley resigned this month amid controversy over the selection of Council Member Ethan Reynolds as mayor. RELATED: New Carlisle gets new mayor amid controversy, accusations Leathley accused Reynolds...
Miami’s Haitians, accustomed to being shunned, rally after Trump slight
Miami’s Haitians, accustomed to being shunned, rally after Trump slight

When Jacques Despinosse lost a primary for the Florida House of Representatives in the 1990s, he chalked up his drubbing to the skepticism many voters had for candidates from what was then a relatively small Haitian diaspora.  But since then, Haitian-American politicians have made one electoral stride after another in the state, winning commission...
Trump’s travel expenses test boundaries of policy and politics
Trump’s travel expenses test boundaries of policy and politics

President Donald Trump has reveled in smashing political precedent, but on Thursday he followed his White House predecessors in one of Washington's usually unspoken traditions: blurring the lines between a campaign trip and official business.  Jetting aboard Air Force One for a quick day trip to western Pennsylvania, Trump delivered a 25-minute...
Kelly’s remarks unsettle a tense alliance at the White House
Kelly’s remarks unsettle a tense alliance at the White House

The one thing sure to make President Donald Trump angry, as anyone who has ever worked closely with him knows, is any suggestion that his staff is managing him.  Yet early Wednesday evening, after learning from a White House aide that his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, had described his views about his signature campaign pledge to build a wall...
As federal shutdown looms, GOP struggles to show that it governs
As federal shutdown looms, GOP struggles to show that it governs

The federal government late Thursday faced increasing odds of a partial shutdown, the culmination of a long period of budget warfare that has now imperiled what most lawmakers agree is the most basic task of governance.  The immediate challenge Thursday was a refusal by Senate Democrats to join with Republicans in passing legislation that would...
More Stories