Two Ohio Counties get federal help against pain-pill abuse

Columbus Dispatch

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration today targeted Adams and Scioto counties for federal help in curbing the spread and abuse of painkilling prescription drugs in southeastern Ohio.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said the Ohio counties have been designated “high density drug trafficking areas.”

The order is aimed at helping local law enforcement officials curb the access of opiate-based painkillers responsible in 2009 for almost 40 percent of the 1,373 drug-overdose deaths in Ohio, a problem particularly acute in Adams and Scioto.

The White House announcement means the federal government and state officials have launched more-aggressive efforts to control prescription drug abuse. Gov. John Kasich this year signed an executive order that allows the State Medical Board to take on the pain-management centers that make painkillers available.

It was unclear whether the White House move would mean additional federal dollars for the anti-drug effort.

“Ohio is on the front lines of the prescription drug epidemic, and we need every available resource to prevent the devastation we’ve seen in our communities,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who has been pressing for the White House action.

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