COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich is allowing the state medical board to immediately start regulating pain management clinics to fight drug abuse and keep them from operating as so-called "pill mills."
Kasichr has made the fight against prescription painkiller abuse a top priority and says it's become a crisis in Ohio.
He recently signed a bill that will restrict the operations of pain management clinics and the owners and physicians who run the facilities, some of which were not regulated. He signed an emergency executive order Monday authorizing the medical board to take action immediately.
Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, and some lawmakers say the problem is driven in part by clinics that provide drugs on demand.
The bill requires the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to license pain clinics as dispensers of dangerous drugs.
Kasich says he will make sure the Boards of Pharmacy and State Medical Board use the tools they've been given
The bill's local sponsor, Rep.Terry Johnson says this national landmark anti-drug law will not allow pill prescribers to personally furnish improper quantities of certain drugs.
The enforcement comes form local health departments, who say they will used all resources available to make sure the new law is followed.
The new law will require the State Board of Pharmacy to license pain clinics as distributors of dangerous drugs.
It also limits how many pills a doctor can dispense at a clinic and creates a statewide system for collecting unused narcotics.
The signing comes as operators of a southern Ohio clinic face charges of illegally dispensing prescription painkillers. Federal investigators say employees were paid based on the number of appointments they lined up for the clinic. The allegations are similar to charges brought against other pain clinics and doctors in recent months, many of them operating in southern Ohio.
Health officials say the illegal distribution of painkillers leads to hundreds of overdose deaths in Ohio each year.
The legislation also tries to reduce the illegal distribution of
prescription painkillers by creating a statewide system for
collecting unused supplies of the narcotics.
The new law for the first time would require the State Board of
Pharmacy to license pain clinics as distributors of dangerous
Many of the clinics are in southern Ohio, where federal
prosecutors say the operators of one facility ordered their
employees to fill 30 to 40 cash-only prescriptions a day.
The operators of Ohio Medical and Pain Management in Waverly and a doctor they employed have pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally dispensing prescription painkillers.
The bill, for the first time, would require the State Board of Pharmacy to license those clinics as distributors of dangerous drugs and would fine clinics operating without a license.
The bill also requires criminal background checks for clinic employees and limits how many pills a physician can dispense on site.