Ohio aims to curb overdose deaths through varied strategies


COLUMBUS (AP)— Officials from Ohio’s health, addiction and public safety agencies and its pharmacy board hope to curb the epidemic of drug overdoses and deaths over the next year using a variety of strategies, including:

— TRAFFICKING: Work with lawmakers to stiffen penalties for people illegally selling the painkiller fentanyl, support local drug task forces and step up drug-seizure efforts.

— EMERGENCY RESPONSE: Provide resources to make more naloxone doses available and expand public awareness campaign about that opioid overdose reversal drug.

— TREATMENT: Expand addiction treatment program offered through drug courts to seven more counties with high numbers of fatal overdoses, and develop a toolkit that hospital emergency departments can use to help direct overdose patients to treatment and community resources.

— TRACKING: Integrate the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System into more electronic medical records and pharmacy dispensing systems, and make educational information about opioid prescribing part of the licensure process for physicians.

— PREVENTION: Promote drug take-back opportunities for safe disposal of unneeded medications and get more parents, teachers and community leaders signed up for email that offers tips for talking with youth about substance abuse.