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Ohio Introduces New Anti-Opioid Abuse Program

In a new anti-opioid abuse pilot program implemented recently, Ohio will be using fingerprint scans to combat prescription drug abuse. In this voluntary program, participants will submit to a scan prior to seeing doctors in one hospital system, and several pharmacies have agreed to use the scan for patients who want to fill prescriptions.

U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan use similar biometric tools to identify dangerous individuals, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Each year in Ohio, 67 opioid painkillers are prescribed to residents. The state plans to implement the program in a more widespread manner if this pilot program is successful.

After a state agent scans a patient’s fingerprint, data instantly uploads to the patient’s electronic medical record. This information tracks the amount of visits each patient makes to the doctor and the pharmacy, and monitors the amount of pills the patient is prescribed. This information can be used to deter “doctor shopping” and abuse.

The previous system used to deter prescription pill abuse in Ohio used a system that provided slow results. The results from the previous system took up to one week to report patient data. The new system is instantaneous.

Orman Hall, Director of Ohio’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services stated. “Currently, it’s all after the fact,” (This new program) “gives us better and more timely information about people who are abusing.”

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