"We are here to talk about this war and this ugly problem we have that's affecting families and children all over the state of Ohio. In Southern Ohio the problem of prescription drug addictions. We've heard this over and over again and it seems nothing ever happens," Kasich said. "I cam down here to indicate this is a priority for me."
Kasich said after a meeting with city, county and state officials an agreement was reached as to steps that should be taken.
"We want to get started on this so we can begin to take some positive steps. Everything is on the table really. I'm going to put the power of my office behind this. I intend to work with (Ohio Attorney General) Mike DeWine on the law enforcement side of the issue. We're going to launch a full scale comprehensive effort to try to get on top of this problem," Kasich said. "Rome wasn't built in a day, but if we can start to put some bricks in place, we can begin to bight into this problem."
Kasich said some changes could come in Medicaid; some changes could come thru legislation. Other areas include law enforcement, and perhaps giving health officials at the county level more authority, "to be able to deal with these pill mills," Kasich said.
"This is something we can not put off any longer. We've got to take some steps to show the public and those people who are involved in this dirty, stinking, lousy business that we mean business," Kasich said.
Kasich attended the meeting with a number of state legislators including State Representative Terry Johnson and State Representative Danny Bubp.
The legislators talked about the work put into House Bill 547 which called for the regulation of pain clinics throughout the state. The bill did not get assigned to a committee in the House of Representatives and was never voted upon.
Both Johnson and Bubp assured those in attendance they are more than willing to work on a bill that would have the same effect if signed into law.
"I'm very please it (the issue of prescription drug abuse) being elevated to this level of importance. We've liven it here for a number of years, and it's time that we get serious about fighting this deadly problem," Lisa Roberts, public health nurse with the Portsmouth city health department said.
On Monday, Oct. 23, Portsmouth City Council passed an ordinance enacting a 180-day moratorium on the issuance of any permit pertaining to the start-up of any pain clinic within the city of Portsmouth. Such ordinance is suspected to be the first of its kind in the state of Ohio.
"Right now we're righting ordinances that would allow the health department the authority to license pain clinics," Peggy Burton, Portsmouth city Health Commissioner said.
Burton said the department has been looking at what the state of Louisiana has done in the regulation of pain clinics as an example.
"They have ordinances on the books for their health department to do what we want to do," Burton said.
When asked if the steps being considered would do a long way in the regulation of pain clinics within the city Burton said, "I believe it will be paramount in controlling these businesses that are not ligament. Those that are not a ligament pain clinic, I do not believe would be able to meet the requirements of any legislation that was passed for our inspections and licensing of them."
Burton hopes to begin to bring ordinances before Portsmouth City Council as early as February.