DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – U.S. Senator Rob Portman called for a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions following surgeries. He made the comment on Tuesday in an interview with Nexstar Media.
Portman was responding to data released by The Washington Post and a story on WDTN.com reporting 415 million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills were dumped in the Miami Valley by pharmaceutical companies from 2006 to 2012.
During the same time frame, 3.4 billion pain pills were sold in Ohio. In Montgomery County alone, 175 million pain pills were sold, equaling 46 pills for every county resident for six years.
“The new data that has come out about what happened 10 years ago, 5 years, is just horrible,” Portman said.
Portman was alarmed by the report and the sheer amount of medication that poured into the state over that span.
“It shows these pharmaceutical companies were dumping pain pills in tiny communities,” Portman said. “The doctors knew what they were doing. It was unscrupulous. There ought to be consequences for that.”
Portman said Ohio currently limits opioid prescriptions to seven days. He would like that limited to three days, with exceptions for people dealing with chronic pain, cancer or other serious pain matters.
“I’ve got legislation limiting it to three days, and that comes from what the Centers for Disease Control has said, ” Portman said. “After day four, five or six, the chances of becoming addicted are higher.
“The other factor is the pain value. After the second or third day, other pain medications work just as effective. If we can get a three-day limit in place it can keep us from getting into this situation where people are moving from pills to heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs.”
Portman also mentioned a federal lawsuit filed on Friday in Cleveland by municipalities and local governments against dozens of opioid manufacturing and distributing companies. The lawsuit could be the largest civil case in U.S. history.