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Ohio officials say they are making progress in the fight against prescription drug abuse. The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services says about one million fewer prescription pain pills will be dispensed in two Ohio counties this year compared with 2010.

However, according to The Columbus Dispatch, overall in the state, 23 million more painkillers will be prescribed this year compared with last year.

In the past decade, fatal overdoses have more than quadrupled in Ohio and are now more common than car crashes as a cause of accidental death in the state.

State officials say the situation is beginning to turn around. They point to the passage of a law designed to crack down on “pill mills,” a 500 percent rise in drug seizures by the State Highway Patrol, and citations and license suspensions against two dozen physicians for over-prescribing pain medications.

New rules taking effect in January will make it more difficult for people to go “pharmacy shopping” to fill multiple painkiller prescriptions, the article notes.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy is also working to reduce prescription drug abuse through the Prescription Monitoring Program Interconnect, which quickly alerts doctors and pharmacies if a patient tries to fill multiple prescriptions. Ohio’s program is linked with Indiana and Virginia. Michigan will join in December, followed by West Virginia in the spring.

Earlier this year, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich announced the state will spend $36 million in new funding to fight prescription drug abuse.

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