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U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

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Trump's formation of drug panel praised

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Washington, April 1, 2017 | comments
With the announcement Wednesday by President Trump of the formation of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis came praise and news of action by area lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-Wheeling.
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Steubenville Herald-Star
By Paul Giannamore
Published April 1, 2017

With the announcement Wednesday by President Trump of the formation of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis came praise and news of action by area lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-Wheeling.

Manchin and Johnson noted attending a meeting at the White House Thursday to discuss the opioid epidemic.

“I am committed to working with the president, his administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight opioid abuse from all angles. With 91 people dying from opioid abuse every day, we cannot afford to let this continue,” Manchin said.

Manchin termed the White House meeting a “productive conversation” and said the commission “only adds to the all-hands on deck approach that we need.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was appointed to chair the president’s panel Wednesday.

Trump said, “This is a total epidemic and I think it’s probably, almost un-talked about compared to the severity that we’re witnessing.”

Johnson said Trump’s campaign promises included acting to keep drugs from pouring into the nation and to help those affected by addiction.

“He again expressed his willingness to work with anyone, from inside or outside of government, and from any political background, to find solutions to protect Americans from this dangerous epidemic,” Johnson said. “Ohio — particularly Eastern and Southeastern Ohio — has been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear or read another heartbreaking story.”

McKinley said, “We’ve had dozens of meetings over the last few years with stakeholders from teachers to doctors to law enforcement to discus strategies to combat opioid abuse. (Thursday’s) meeting was a good opportunity to share recommendations we’ve developed from these meetings. One suggestion we offered was to have the Surgeon General play a more vocal role in educating the public.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a bill to require prescription drug monitoring programs in all states that receive certain federal funds to combat opioid abuse. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Act was co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Kolobuchar, D-Minn. Manchin said he also is a co-sponsor.

Portman said, “Four out of five heroin addicts in Ohio and across the country started with prescription painkillers. Too many of these people were prescribed a painkiller by their doctor and became addicted or tried a drug prescribed to someone else.”

Portman said the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act would require drug dispensers to report within 24 hours each opioid prescription dispensed; require practitioners to consult the monitoring program before prescribing opioids and require states actively to notify practitioners when the monitoring program database shows a patient exhibiting patterns indicative of abuse. The bill would provide for creation of an interstate data-sharing platform and required all covered states to make their data available.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich announced Thursday new limits on painkiller prescriptions, including doctors being barred from prescribing more than a week’s worth of narcotic pain pills for adults or more than five days for minors. The action was said by the administration to be able to reduce the number of addictive pain pills dispensed in Ohio by 109 million a year.

Doctors who prescribe opiates above the new limits must provide a specific reason in the patient’s medical record. The rules do not apply to patients with cancer, those in hospice or addiction patients.

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