Published: Friday, 31 March 2017 09:52
By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
COLUMBUS - State officials came together Thursday to announce new prescribing guidelines for opioids in an effort to help prevent addiction. Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for Ohio's Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services said that the state has been working for six years to fight opiate abuse. Strides that have been made so far include:
*2.5 milion fewer opiate prescriptions in Ohio
*162 million fewer doses of opiates dispensed
*80% less doctor shopping
*340% increase in Ohio's online prescription monitoring system
Dr. Hurst said the guildelines set the prescribing limit for the first episode of acute pain to a seven day supply for adults and five day supply for patients under 18. Patients and parents for juveniles will have to be advised of the benefits and risks of the medication. The exceptions are for cancer, hospice and MAT (medication assisted treatment for addiction) patients.
Dr. Mary Applegate, medical director for the Ohio Department of Medicaid said these limits are not random. Overprescribing patterns were looked at through OARRS, Ohio's Automated Rx Reporting System. OARRS is a web-based system that collects information on all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances that are dispensed by Ohio licensed pharmacies and prescribed or personally furnished by licensed prescribers in Ohio.
Dr. Applegate said, "The issue related to opioid related deaths [is that] young people, folks in their early 20's [are dying]. We have an extra focus on not starting that very first prescription which happens for children and adolescents."
"Doctors still need to be able to alleviate pain and suffering, however they have a tighter system of safety in place to guide safe prescribing," said Dr. Applegate.
Governor John Kasich tweeted, "Ohio is a leader in [reining] in opiate prescriptions and we’re going even further today."
Critics of the new guidelines asked on social media about what happens on day eight for those adults needing opioids for chronic pain. While alternatives will need to be sought, the idea expressed at Thursday's announcement was that that these new guidelines are designed to help families and communities throughout the state.
Published: Monday, 27 March 2017 23:05
By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — Pat Crow of the Woodward Development Corp. updated city council on the restoration of the Woodward Opera House during a Streets and Public Buildings Committee meeting Monday evening. The project is 50 percent complete and “fully stocked” with contractors. Plumbing is 80 percent complete and HVAC systems are on site but not yet connected.
The WDC is seeking accelerated state approval for three storefronts on the basement level of the Woodward structure (101-105 S. Main St., 6-10 W. Vine St.). Crow said it will be difficult to put a food establishment in those areas, but they will be ideal for anything retail or an exercise facility. Two locations will be basement stone; one will have an enhanced finish. All three will be handicap accessible from the interior of the building.
Work on the Woodward structure will be complete by Dec. 31. Crow did not give a time frame on the Annex structure (107-111 S. Main St.) He said two tenants are interested in space.
Costs for the restoration stand at $22 million. Two Mount Vernon contractors are involved on the project, another is from Ontario and a fourth is Columbus based. Crow said that the majority of contractors come from within a 30-mile radius of Mount Vernon.
In its legislative session, council gave the third and final reading to ordinances increasing wastewater rates and establishing a parking violations bureau. The wastewater increase takes effect April 1. The parking violations bureau establishes a formal means by which the city can tow or boot a car if a resident fails to pay a parking ticket.
Council also approved legislation authorizing appropriations, bill payment and establishing pay rates for seasonal personnel in the city's streets, parks, cemetery, water/wastewater and engineering departments. Interested applicants should contact the mayor's office at 740-393-9517.
Council gave a first reading to the annexation of 3.249 acres into the city. The parcel is located on the northeast corner of Newark and Glenn roads. It is an expedited Type 2 annexation.
There was no public participation at Monday night's public hearing on the rezoning of 1199 Newark Road. Chad Kiefer of Smetzer's Tire Service requested that the 4.49-acre parcel be rezoned from residential to general business. The city's Municipal Planning Commission recommended the rezoning.
Kiefer said that Smetzer's plans to operate a tire sales and services retail outlet on the property. He intends to maintain the existing four-unit apartment complex; three of the units have tenants and the fourth is being renovated. Kiefer said there are no “hard plans” for the house; if ever it gets to the point where it needs major renovations, a decision will be made at that time how to proceed.
Councilwoman Nancy Vail, chairwoman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, said she has received a couple of calls from residents concerned about increased traffic during the day. City Engineer Brian Ball said he looked at the preliminary plans and sees no issues. Access to the tire shop will line up with Dixie Drive; a second access point is on Progress Drive. Ball said the plans show adequate parking and have addressed the requirements for storm water runoff.
Proposed site for Smetzer's Tire Center in Mount Vernon
Kiefer said the retail outlet will have 10 to 12 employees. Councilman John Booth said he is familiar with Smetzer's Wooster facility and said that it has a good reputation. Store hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday; and closed on Sunday.