Last Wednesday, members of the Ohio House of Representatives announced legislation that would require medical professionals to obtain consent from a parent or legal guardian before prescribing a controlled substance to a minor.

House Bill 314 was passed January 15, announced by Representative Nan Baker (R-Westlake) who championed this bill after it was brought to her attention that an Ohio girl who had been prescribed a highly-addictive painkiller without parental consent later began abusing the substance. “It’s important that something be done about it,” Baker said, “and I’m pleased that the House has taken action.”

The bill will require all prescribers in Ohio to obtain written consent from a minor’s parent or legal guardian before prescribing any controlled substance in a non-emergency instance, as these medications possess a high likelihood of being abused. The consent form will be kept separate from other medical documents relating to the minor, and also include the number of refills prescribed. Any prescriber who does not comply with the bill could face the suspension of their license to practice as well as a $20,000 fine.

Danielle Smoot, founder of Cole’s Warriors, an organization aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse among teenagers, is very supportive of the bill, saying that she is very excited about the bill which she considers a step in the right direction to curb prescription drug abuse.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Smoot said. “I am very, very proud of our legislators…they are united, and they are listening to the voice of the parents of the community,” she said, adding that she believes representatives from the Ohio House of Representatives implemented a “creative and proactive method of curbing this problem.”

Smoot’s son, Cole Ryan Smoot, a Tecumseh High School student, was 16 years old when he died after taking just one Methadone pill in February of 2011. Since his death, Danielle has devoted her life to curbing prescription drug abuse in children Cole’s age, so that no more parents must endure what she and her husband Shane have in losing their son.

“They definitely have their finger on the pulse of this epidemic,” Smoot said of the Ohio House. She believes House Bill 314 will create a “true and meaningful difference” in the prescription drug abuse epidemic in teenagers.

The bill passed the Ohio House with bipartisan support and will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

HB 314 is part of a package of bills that addresses opioid addiction in Ohio.

Specifically, the package includes the following proposals:

House Bill 314 (Baker, Kunze) – Prevents opioids from being prescribed to minors without their parents’ consent
House Bill 332 (Wachtmann, Antonio) – Creates higher standards of care requirements for physicians treating chronic, non-cancer pain
House Bill 341 (Smith) – Requires all prescribers to check the OARRS system before giving a prescription for an opioid
House Bill 359 (Sprague) – Requires a consumer fact sheet to be given to patients receiving an opioid prescription
House Bill 363 (Sprague, Driehaus) – Creates a 9-1-1 Good Samaritan law that exempts someone from prosecution for minor possession if they attempt to save the life of someone who is overdosing
House Bill 366 (Sprague) – Requires hospice organizations to appoint one person to keep track of medications used, do pill counts, lock up unused medicaition, and dispose of medication after it’s no longer needed
House Bill 367 (Sprague, Driehaus) – Requires prescription pill addiction and the linkage to heroin be taught as part of the health class curriculum in our schools
House Bill 369 (Sprague) – Requires each county to have the full spectrum of integrated opioid addiction recovery treatment and recovery housing. It also requires insurance and Medicaid to pay for opioid recovery treatment, and provides funding for specialty drug courts.
House Bill 378 (Sprague, Smith) – Requires drug recovery treatment to accompany prescriptions for medication assisted treatment drugs
Rep. Sears will introduce a bill requiring that opioid prescriptions for acute pain be filled in small increments instead of all at once.
Rep. Sears will introduce a bill requiring an individual to show their driver’s license or photo identification when picking up an opioid prescription.