COLUMBUS-State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), who was recently appointed by Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder as chair of the House Prescription Drug Addiction and Healthcare Reform Study Committee, has announced that the study committee will be holding its second of four statewide hearings in Hardin County on August 27.

The public hearing will be held at the Hardin County Courthouse (One Courthouse Square, Kenton) at 1 p.m. It will explore ways to address the issue of drug abuse and addiction, an issue that has become a rampant problem in Ohio. Since 2007, unintentional drug overdose death has been the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio. Two-thirds of these deaths involved a prescription opioid, more than cocaine, heroin and marijuana deaths combined.

Other local members of the committee include Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) and Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Twp.).

The fight to address prescription drug abuse in Ohio was initiated by the signing of House Bill 93 into law in April 2011. Although this legislation was effective in helping to close Ohio's pill mills, many Ohioans continue to struggle with addiction and move toward other illegal drugs, such as heroine, as accessibility of prescription opioids has decreased.