UTMC Physician on board with painkiller crackdown

UTMC Physician on board with painkiller crackdown

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - An order from Governor Kasich, cracks down on painkiller prescriptions in the Buckeye State. It's part of the battle against opioid abuse, which claimed the lives of more than 3,000 Ohioians in 2015.

The order limits painkiller prescriptions to seven. It's already going into effect at the University of Toledo Medical Center.

Dr. Joseph Atallah is the chief of the pain division at UTMC.

"Today I had a surgery on a patient and I limited to the prescription to one week. What's wrong with that?" Atallah said.

While Dr. Atallah has put the Governor's order into practice, the new rules aren't officially expected to take effect until this summer.

Dr. Atallah says before, prescriptions could be made for 30 days.

"I think that will limit the number of pills that are just sitting in the corner, in the drug cabinet that are unused and that can be used by my kids or your kids," Dr. Atallah said.

In addition to the pill limits, Governor Kasich says the new rules require doctors to provide a specific diagnosis and procedure code for every painkiller prescription they write. And physicians who don't comply, will lose their licenses.

Kasich says Ohio is winning the battle, but we have a long way to go to win the war.

"No one should think that this is solved just by people at the Statehouse trying to do something," Gov. Kasich said. "This has to be solved in our civic organizations, in our schools, in our churches in our synagogues, at the little league game, at the basketball game. The word has to be out."

Dr. Atallah says he'd also like to see more control over pain clinics and doctor's recognizing there are other ways to treat pain, than with pills. He also says doctor's should be able to read patients.

"Whoever can prescribe narcotics should know, if this patient should have an evidence or potential for addiction then we should avoid those prescriptions for those kinds of patients," said Dr. Atallah.

Cancer and hospice patients are exempt from the new rules.

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