Since 2010, Ohio and Kentucky have tried to close pill mills that dispensed addictive drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The unregulated clinics drew people hundreds of miles from other states to feed their habit. Now, officials are keeping a closer eye on traditional physicians to make sure they are not overprescribing the drugs. New laws are in place to make sure they don't. The crackdown is making a difference, officials say. Prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone are on the decline in both states, by up to 10 percent.
It's a small reversal after a 300 percent explosion in prescriptions for opioid painkillers nationwide between 1999 and 2010, as the medical profession moved to more aggressively treat pain. The Enquirer reported in “Heroin: Prescription for Pain” in March that the increase in pain pill prescriptions fueled a rise in heroin use and overdose deaths. The heroin supply increased, its price dropped and dealers focused on mostly white suburban and rural users who had tried prescription painkillers. Drug deaths in Ohio increased by 276 percent between 2000 and 2010, exceeding traffic deaths.