The drug used to treat addicts, is now seeing abuse
As the state cracks down on the prescription drug problem a new problem is cropping up.
One of the drugs used to treat addiction to opiates is Suboxone, but now people are starting to abuse it. Orman Hall, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, says they aren't trying to get high.
"Most of the people that are acquiring Suboxone are using it to self-treat their addiction or they're using it to avoid withdrawal from other opiates," Hall said.
Many of the state's pain clinics have been shut down leaving those abusing pain killers looking for a way to deal with their addiction. Hall says the state plans to open a treatment center in Jackson, Ohio soon.
"They will provide integrated counseling and medication assisted treatment and we hope that as a result of those new services in that part of our state that we'll start to see a decline in some of the diverted medication," he said.
Hall says it's nearly impossible to treat opiate addiction without a mix of medication and counseling.
The other disturbing side effect is the increase in heroin abuse.
"Prescription opiates and heroin are at the chemical level the same thing. So many people that became addicted to prescription opiates are moving to heroin because prescription opiates are less available to them," Hall said.
While he says Ohio is moving in the right direction on prescription pain killer addiction, there is more work to be done.