Johnson said House Bill 93 will provide additional oversight by enhancing the current Ohio Automated Rx Review System (OARRS), which was established in 2006 to assist health care professionals in identifying drug-seeking behaviors. The sponsors said the legislation will also limit prescribers’ ability to personally furnish certain controlled substances, enact Medicaid reforms to improve consumer education and allow for better care coordination, improve licensing and law enforcement for pain management clinics, and develop a statewide prescription drug “take-back” program.
At Thursday’s hearings, individuals and organization officials testified in support of the bill, including Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers; Mark Keeley, legislative affairs administrator of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy; Richard Whitehouse, executive director of the State Medical Board of Ohio; Jeff Smith, director of government relations at the Ohio State Medical Association; Courtney Rose, Surviving Our Loss and Continuing Everyday (SOLACE) event coordinator; Dr. Aaron Adams, Scioto County health commissioner; and Lisa Roberts, Portsmouth City Health Department public health nurse.
“On this important day of testimony in favor of House Bill 93, which I intend to see passed and become a key tool in our fight against the scourge of prescription drug abuse, I was honored to have present several folks from my home area,” Johnson said. “They are my team members, my friends and neighbors, and I am so fortunate to have them on my side not only in southern Ohio but here in Columbus as well. Together, we are going to prevail in saving lives and making a difference on this issue.”
During that testimony, Johnson emphasized that a community coalition is required to combat prescription drug abuse.
“Those who testified are my fellow soldiers in this fight,” Johnson said. “It was apparent that the testimony they gave was riveting and at times shocking to some of my fellow legislators.”
On the day Johnson announced the bill he described it as being “on the fast track,” and that it was being coordinated with the attorney general and the governor’s office. He also said Speaker of the House William G. Batchelder (R-69) was a co-sponsor of the bill.
House Bill 93 will have at least one more committee hearing, where it will undergo further consideration.