The Marietta Times, June 25
Drunken driving isn’t just a danger on Ohio highways. Its waterways see too much drinking and driving – of boats.
That’s why the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is taking part in a National Dry Water campaign. It’s an effort to reduce the use of alcohol and drugs while operating watercraft. The campaign runs through Sunday and includes increasing patrols, checkpoints and breath-alcohol tests on waterways across the state,
There are additional “stressers” when out on a boat, officials say. Things like sun, wind, water and motion can impact the effects of alcohol on a person.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics show alcohol use was the primary contributing factor in 260 recreational-boating accidents, 91 deaths and 228 injuries across the country last year. It was a contributing factor in 20 recreational-boating deaths in Ohio the past five years, including four deaths in 2015.
Boaters whose blood-alcohol level exceeds Ohio’s limit of .08 percent can face jail and fines, among other penalties.
So have fun on the water, but play it safe – and smart. Don’t drink and drive.
The Columbus Dispatch, June 26
A new federal report provides insight as to why this nation has a worsening overdose epidemic.
Nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries in 2015 received at least one prescription for commonly abused opioids, such as OxyContin and fentanyl, according to the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
That totals nearly 12 million people on the government insurance plan, costing $4.1 billion.
“This raises concerns about abuse,” said Miriam Anderson, who led the study. “This is a serious problem facing our country.”
Medicaid should take a page from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which created a pharmacy management program for the state’s injured workers and cut opioid dosages by 41 percent since 2011.
No one wants to see people live in pain, but this nation is sinking deeper into an opioid crisis; overdoses killed nearly 19,000 people in 2014. The Medicare report is alarming.