Rep. Jay Edwards touts proposed legislation to limit the role of prescription painkillers in the regions opioid epidemic at Athens City Hall. (Aaron Payne)

‘Daniel’s Law’ Bill Sponsor Takes Opioid Fight Back Home

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ATHENS, Ohio — The lead sponsor of a bill aimed at limiting the prescription of opioid painkillers was in Athens and Marietta Friday to promote the bill.

Daniel’s Law –House Bill 167 and Senate Bill 119 — limits opioid painkiller prescriptions to a 3-7 day supply, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Any physician wishing to prescribe over that limit must provide addiction treatment.

The proposed legislation also offers other regulations regarding prescription dosage and providing  more access to addiction treatment.

Republican Rep. Jay Edwards, the bill’s lead sponsor in the House, said these provisions set it apart from Gov. Kasich’s new regulation.

“This has a treatment option. There are a lot of people that’s already addicted [to opioids] that they could say the prescribing part of this bill wouldn’t pertain to. If those folks…wanna get treatment, this will have access to more doctors offering treatment.”

The governor’s regulation introduced Thursday only limits prescriptions to a 7-day supply for adults and 5-day supply for children –with exceptions for certain cases like cancer and end-of-life care.

Physicians supported the inclusion of exceptions in Gov. Kasich’s mandate.

The Ohio State Medical Association voiced concern after a press conference announcing Daniel’s Law on Wednesday. They want discretion to prescribe differently for different patients to not be taken away.

“We’re not trying to cause any ill will toward physicians,” Edwards said. “But there are a lot of other physicians that are overprescribing and some may be even overprescribing unknowingly.”

Members of local law enforcement and the addiction treatment community in southeast Ohio joined Edwards at his press conferences held at Athens City hall and the armory in Marietta.

James Gaskell, Athens County Health Commissioner, voiced his support for Daniel’s Law. He said there is only so much those treating addiction can do without help from the statehouse.

“We’re engaged in a battle with an insidious enemy. And we must use all the tools available to us to win this battle. These tools include, of course, legislative action.”

Edwards and fellow sponsors of Daniel’s Law plan to send resolutions around the state as a way for citizens to show their support of the proposed legislation.