Ohio Launches 'Don't Get Me Started' Campaign
Ohio has launched a new campaign in the battle against prescription drug abuse called "Don't Get Me Started."
That was one of many strategies discussed on beating the prescription drug abuse problem at a summit of state agencies on Wednesday.
Kin Pancake of Columbus is thrilled to see state government taking action. Three generations of her family have been devastated by prescription drug abuse.
"You know, when I took the pills, I just felt so right. I felt that I could do things. I felt, um, I felt good in my own skin," Pancake said.
Pancake became hooked on Darvocet after having a tooth extracted. She says she took 40 pills a day. The $200-a-day habit bankrupted her family.
"My mother-in-law broke her hip, and they gave her 100 Darvocets, and I took those. And there was no going back," Pancake said.
Addiction runs in the family. Pancake says her mother was addicted to the drug for 15 years before overdosing and dying in 2002. Pancake herself kicked the habit and has been clean for five years. However, she says her 23-year-old daughter is now also fighting a prescription drug addiction.
"They need to take a look at doctors. There's doctors prescribing this stuff, and it's just so available," Pancake said.
"We think we're moving in the right direction," said State Representative Terry Johnson (R-OH) of the 89th district.
Johnson sponsored HB 93 last year, which unanimously passed. The law targeted pill mills among other aspects of the fight against prescription drug abuse.
Johson was among the summit Wednesday that consisted of legislators and state agencies working together to combat the problem.
One step in that process is the "Don't Get Me Started" campaign. According to a press release from the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities: "The campaign will be featured on posters at hundreds of convenience stores and other organizations around the state, each with a QR code linking to an individual story; limited billboards in highly-affected counties; online banner ads on music, social media and gaming sites popular with young adults; and a dedicated Facebook page where those affected by prescription drug abuse can share their own story."
Johnson says the state has been successful in starting to crackdown on pill mills but points out that abusers can always go out of state to get their fix.
Johnson also says the state is focusing on making sure doctors are educated about the problem as well. Johnson, himself a family doctor, says most physicians do their best to provide medical care with a sincere heart. But as a former coroner, Johnson says he has seen the problem from the other side of the spectrum having examined bodies of people who have overdosed.
"I think we need to have an awareness of what the problem actually is. The average physician doesn't see the impact of what these pills can do," Johnson said.
Pancake is thrilled to see the state taking steps to help people.
"I'm so happy the government is finally going to try to do something because it's an epidemic. It's terrifying," she said.
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