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Health & Science

Kasich Says Ohio is Getting a Handle on Opioid Abuse

A breakdown of overdoses in Ohio in 2015
John Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich blamed the recent heroin epidemic on the over-prescription of drugs, using a wisdom teeth pulling as an example.

Ohio averaged more than eight accidental drug overdose deaths a day last year. But Gov. John Kasich says the state is getting a handle on the problem, beginning with controlling abuse of prescription painkillers.

Speaking to a group of judges and other high-ranking officials in Cincinnati from nine states hit hard by heroin, Gov. John Kasich says it's easy to see how the epidemic began: the over-prescription of dangerous drugs.

He remembers when bed rest at home and ice cream was the follow-up treatment when people had their wisdom teeth pulled.

“Today, you get your wisdom teeth removed and they give you 25 Oxycontins.”

A new report from the Ohio Department of Health says accidental drug-overdose deaths totaled more than 3,000 last year. But Kasich believes the state is turning the corner. He called on neighboring states to follow Ohio's lead in reducing doctor and pharmacy shopping.

He says 81 million fewer pills are being dispensed in Ohio now than in the past couple of years.