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Lawmakers targeting doctors in latest fight against heroin

A conference at Columbus Public Health was the site of discussions about the opiod epidemic. (WSYX/WTTE)

Republican lawmakers in both the Ohio House and Senate have introduced a bill aimed at what they said was the root of the heroin epidemic. They're targeting over-prescribing of opioid pain pills by doctors.

The bill is being called "Daniel's Law" after a Montgomery County man who became addicted to prescription pain pills and eventually heroin. He died of an overdose after months of struggling to stay clean.

"He fought it every day of his life," said Scott Weidle, Daniel's dad. "It was a terrible roller coaster for him and I see this over and over and over in every community I go to."

The bill would limit the number of pain pills to just a three-day supply.

"We're not going to be able to legislate our way out of this epidemic," said Sen. Jay Hottinger, R - Newark. "This is just one step that is going to help us move in the right direction."

Supporters of the bill said some doctors prescribe as many as 140 opioid pills at once. They said the Center for Disease Control recommends only about 20.

Lawmakers said much of what they have tried to do to battle the heroin epidemic hasn't work so they're now aiming at the root of the problem.

"Ohio has spent a lot of money on this problem and it's only gotten worse," said Rep. Jay Edwards, R - Nelsonville. "We really have to address the issue and I think this bill does that."

If a doctor wants to prescribe more than a three-day supply, the bill requires that doctor to offer treatment. It also would encourage doctors to offer non-addictive alternatives to pain treatment.

"If you're going to prescribe it, you need to treat it," Weidle said. "If you don't want to treat it, stop prescribing it."

The bill was introduced and its sponsors said they hope to pass it this spring.

Governor John Kasich plans to unveil a similar opioid pill limit on Thursday at the Statehouse.

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