(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud, and RecoveryOhio Director Alisha Nelson announced Thursday a new, statewide effort to prevent opioid diversion and addiction in situations where an injured worker is prescribed opioids as part of a BWC claim.
Starting November 1, injured workers receiving an opioid prescription for the first time within the past 12 months will automatically receive a drug disposal bag upon filling the prescription at a retail pharmacy. The bags destroy the opioids in a chemical process, rendering them useless for legitimate or recreational use.
“Newly injured workers don’t always need every opioid pill in their prescription, and this new effort will simplify the process for safely disposing these dangerous drugs,” said Governor DeWine. “By giving these drug disposal bags to injured workers at the time they fill a prescription, we can not only educate them about the dangers of opioid addiction, but also reduce the risk that unused pills will end up where they shouldn’t – in the hands of children for example.”
“We need every tool available to resolve the opioid and substance epidemic in this state, and it’s my hope these bags will move us closer to that goal,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud announcing the initiative at Crosby’s Drugs & Home Health Care in Columbus Thursday. “This effort is consistent with Governor DeWine’s RecoveryOhio initiative, and BWC is proud to do its part.”
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health states that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time began by using a prescription drug for non-medical purposes.
BWC will cover the full cost of the disposal bags, which are limited to opioid prescriptions only. The bags will be available at every retail pharmacy across the state.
A fact sheet with questions and answers about the disposal bags can be found on BWC’s website.
To address the mental health and substance use public health crisis in Ohio, Governor DeWine created the RecoveryOhio initiative to coordinate and improve prevention efforts, increase access to treatment, and support proven recovery supports in the state. The RecoveryOhio Advisory Council released its initial report that provides 75 actionable recommendations to better address the public health crisis in Ohio.