In advance of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27, 2013, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) expressed support for efforts to combat drug abuse and make sure that potentially dangerous products are disposed of properly. In 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) collected 26,207 pounds of prescription medications in Ohio on the National Drug Take Back Day.
"In the last decade, prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in parts of Ohio. It has devastated the lives and livelihoods of individual Ohioans and taken a dangerous toll on American families and communities," Portman said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but great progress is being made in areas of the state that have faced epidemic levels of addiction to opiates in recent years. With continued federal, state, and local efforts to combat this epidemic, I have no doubt we will continue to make great strides in the fight against prescription drug abuse."
In July 2012, Senator Portman's bipartisan ID MEDS Act (S.2254) that he introduced with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to create a national standard for states to exchange information from prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) was signed into law by President Obama as part of the Food and Drug Administration Bill, S.3187. This legislation gives states like Ohio a new tool in the fight against prescription drug abuse that is plaguing our nation's communities. More than 40 states have PDMPs have PDMPs, and preliminary research has shown PDMPs to be highly effective in stemming the tide of abuse. Thanks to Portman's legislation, PDMPs will now be able to securely communicate with each other. Portman's idea came from conversations he had with Ohio's community leaders, law enforcement, and families impacted by the abuse of prescription drugs.
In 2012, the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) Southern Ohio Drug Task Force operating in Adams and Scioto counties seized more than 85,000 in prescription drugs, seized 11 meth labs, and disrupted 3 drug trafficking organizations.
Senator Portman was instrumental in bringing about the federal designation of Adams and Scioto Counties as part of Ohio HIDTA. Under the designation, the counties have received federal resources to assist in drug control efforts among federal, state, and local law enforcement officers in Southeast Ohio.