When the Ohio House assembled a study committee last summer to travel around the state and research Ohio’s prescription drug abuse problem, our hope was that it would yield information that would ultimately lead to legislation to help solve the problem.
I don’t know, however, if anyone expected the study committee to be as successful as it turned out to be. The feedback from healthcare experts as well as the public gave tremendous insight into not only the kinds of problems our state faces, but also just how widespread the problems are. It is an issue that really does impact all 88 counties in Ohio.
Overcoming drug abuse has been on the radar of the General Assembly for years now, but the study committee, chaired by Rep. Robert Sprague of Findlay, has already directly produced pieces of legislation that will help us address the issues that still exist. This is an issue that ties into our overarching goal in the legislature: strengthening Ohio’s economy. As people have more opportunities to have jobs and use their talents to raise strong families, the need to resort to drugs, I believe, decreases dramatically.
As with anything else, this is not true in every case. Sometimes people resort to drugs because they do have the extra cash to spend on it. But, by and large, I firmly believe that an improving economy will lead to stronger families and stronger health. The anxiety of not knowing where a steady source of income will be coming from can lead to conditions that are conducive to finding an alternative means of comfort, which sometimes means drug use.
The problem can tear apart lives and families, but is a major issue for all Ohioans. Last year, it cost taxpayers in the state upwards of $3.5 billion. In the upcoming year, I look forward to working toward a solution to some of these problems, understanding fully that it is a situation that will not be cleaned up overnight. It will take diligence from all members of the General Assembly, but there are great minds taking a leading role toward helping save lives and families all across Ohio.
Rep. Jim Buchy can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (614) 446-6344. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.