Ohio law aims to curb prescription painkiller abuse among minors with parental consent requirements

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by Michael Heygood

Ohio Governor John Kasich is spearheading a movement with the backing of the state’s legislature to curb prescription drug abuse among teenagers by strengthening Ohio’s informed consent laws regarding the prescription of opioid painkillers to minors. These efforts led to the passage of a new law last year—known as “Start Talking!”—which requires health care providers to obtain the consent of a minor’s parent or guardian before issuing prescription painkillers to patients under the age of 18.

Efforts by Gov. Kasich and the Ohio state legislature to increase consent requirements for painkiller prescriptions for minors were spurred by findings that “most teens who abuse pain relievers say they get them from family and friends.” In addition to requiring the consent of a parent or guardian to prescribe painkillers to young patient, the new law also limits painkiller prescriptions for minors to a three day supply when another adult authorized by the parent or guardian—such as a grandparent—gives the required consent.

According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 3719.061, the consent form signed by the parent of the minor receiving the painkiller prescription must contain the following information:

  1. The name and quantity of the compound being prescribed and the amount of the initial dose;
  2. A statement indicating that a controlled substance is a drug or other substance that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has identified as having a potential for abuse;
  3. A statement certifying that the prescriber has discussed with the minor and the minor’s parent, guardian, or another adult authorized to consent to the minor’s medical treatment specific matters concerning the risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioids, as well as the minor’s mental health and substance abuse history;
  4. The number of refills, if any, authorized by the prescription; and
  5. The signature of the minor’s parent, guardian, or another adult authorized to consent to the minor’s medical treatment and the date of signing.

Health care providers may be exempted from the requirements of Ohio’s “Start Talking!” law in certain emergency situations. Medical providers may be able to issue painkillers without the consent of a parent or guardian in cases involving surgery or emergencies that involve treatment in a hospital or similar institutional facility.

Opioid Painkillers and the Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse

Ohio’s tough new consent law comes at a time of growing awareness regarding the epidemic of opioid painkillers and other prescription drugs. In 2010, prescription drug overdose passed automobile accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. A Los Angeles Times investigation discovered that half of all fatal prescription overdoses involved the use of opioid painkillers, including drugs such as Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), methadone, and the Duragesic or fentanyl pain patch.

Warnings by health experts about the dangers of narcotic painkillers have cited several factors behind the rise in prescription drug deaths. Doctors who overprescribe opioids to their patients contribute to the problem of prescription painkiller abuse by increasing the risk of addiction for their patients, flooding the market with pills that can be sold illegally on the street, and increasing the chances that a drug interaction between the painkillers and another central nervous system depressant medication could lead to a combined drug overdose. The aggressive marketing of opioid painkillers by the pharmaceutical industry to doctors and patients has also played a rise in the skyrocketing number of opioid prescriptions in the U.S.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson and Prescription Painkiller Lawsuits

The marketing practices of drug companies who manufacture opioid painkillers have had a disastrous effect on the lives of patients who have suffered addictions or overdoses because of these drugs. Doctors who prescribe these medications indiscriminately to their patients have also played a role in the epidemic of prescription painkiller overdoses in this country.

Patients who suffer an accidental overdose or develop an addiction from prescription painkillers may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the medication, as well as the doctor or hospital who prescribed the drug. The first step in filing a lawsuit is to secure the help of an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process of filing a case.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have represented numerous individuals who have suffered overdose, addiction, or other complications from opioid painkiller prescriptions. Our law firm has handled more cases involving the fentanyl pain patch—a powerful painkiller about 80-100 times more powerful than morphine—than all other law firms in the country combined.

To learn more about filing a lawsuit involving opioid painkiller prescriptions and to find out whether you may be eligible to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also contact us following the link to our free case evaluation form located on this website.