Ohio lawmakers are working hard each and every day to identify new and innovative solutions to combat the growing opioid crisis. Last week, I was proud to cosponsor legislation that encourages Ohio’s physicians to immediately seek treatment should they become addicted to alcohol or drugs. As was shown by the unanimous support it received when it was passed off the Senate floor, this is a critical piece of the puzzle in combating drug abuse in Ohio.

 

Sponsored by State Representatives Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City) and Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), House Bill 145 will require the State Medical Board to establish the “One-Bite” treatment program for health care practitioners who become impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other substances. A confidential program, "One-Bite" would only be available to physicians who have not been previously sanctioned for impairment.

 

The goal of this legislation is to provide physicians, who are as equally susceptible to addiction as any other citizen, with access to a strict treatment regiment without immediately receiving severe disciplinary action or losing their license. However, those participating in the program must suspend their practice until the treatment provider determines that the individual is no longer impaired and is able to practice according to acceptable standards of care.

 

As a member of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, I am optimistic that this legislation will prompt more practitioners to seek help, succeed in their recovery efforts, and protect patients who are treated by these individuals. Its passage is an important step for the medical community and the overall fight against substance abuse in the state of Ohio.

 

The Ohio Senate also passed House Joint Resolution 13 on Wednesday, which authorizes a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly for the purpose of receiving the Governor's annual, and final, State of the State address on March 6. The address is to be held in Westerville, Ohio at Otterbein University.

 

I will continue to make your priorities my priorities, and I welcome your feedback and opinions at any time. Please do not hesitate to contact me by calling (614) 466-0626, emailing Oelslager@OhioSenate.gov, or by writing me at 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

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