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Committee to discuss healthcare reform, prescription drug abuse

COLUMBUS — The Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Study Committee will have a local hearing in Jackson County on Aug. 20.

Announced by State Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), the public hearing will explore ways to address the issue of drug abuse and addiction.

Since 2007, unintentional drug overdose death has been the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Two-thirds of these deaths involved a prescription opioid, more than cocaine, heroin and marijuana deaths combined.

“Prescription drug addiction has become an epidemic in southeastern Ohio,” Smith said. “It is affecting our communities and destroying families. I am very pleased to have a study committee coming to our area in order to help us form a comprehensive plan for this overwhelming problem.”

The location of the hearing will be announced in the coming weeks. In addition to the hearing in Jackson County, the study committee will hold public hearings in the following locations:

• Hardin County (Aug. 27)

• Lucas County (Sept. 3)

• Cuyahoga County (Sept. 12)

The fight to address prescription drug abuse in Ohio was initiated by the signing of House Bill 93 into law in April 2011.

Although this legislation was effective in helping to close Ohio’s pill mills, many Ohioans continue to struggle with addiction and move toward other illegal drugs as accessibility of prescription opioids has decreased.