COLUMBUS - Since 2007, unintentional drug overdose deaths have been the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Two-thirds of these deaths involved a prescription opioid, more than cocaine, heroin, and marijuana overdose deaths combined. Last year, over 800 million doses of prescription opioids were prescribed for 11.5 million men, women, and children in Ohio; and the number of prescriptions and families struggling with prescription pain pill addiction continues to rise in Ohio.

The Ohio House of Representatives is taking steps to address this growing epidemic. Earlier this month, State Representative Robert Cole Sprague was appointed by Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder to be the Chairman of the Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Study Committee, which will meet from mid-August until mid-September to discuss ways to solve the opioid addiction epidemic plaguing the state. The committee will travel to Jackson, Hardin, Lucas and Cuyahoga counties to hear public testimony.

"We need to help these families struggling with opioid addiction. We need to address the issue on all fronts, which includes reducing the amount of prescription opioids in Ohio and finding ways to successfully treat Ohioans suffering from addiction," said Chairman Sprague. "The committee will travel the state, making a total of four stops in areas that have been severely afflicted by the epidemic, to listen to public testimony and work as a team to find ways to attack this problem at its source."

The committee, including Rep. Sprague, will meet in Hardin County on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 1 p.m. in the court house.