- Associated Press - Monday, October 13, 2014

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Oct.

Drug drop-off boxes are becoming a familiar sight in more communities. And that’s a good thing, for the most part.

Yes, it’s unfortunate that drugs have become so prevalent in our communities, as well as across our nation. But thankfully, these drug drop-off boxes, and even take-back drug events, exist and offer a way for residents to rid their medicine cabinets of unwanted prescription drugs….

Unused prescription pills, such as Vicodin or Percocet - or even Sudafed pills or related medication with pseudoephedrine as an ingredient that can be used to create meth - easily can be disposed of in these drop-off boxes.



These sites all are in an effort to prevent prescription drugs from being stolen and abused and ensure potentially dangerous drugs are safety discarded. And that includes drugs not being thrown in the trash or flushed down toilets, which could lead to the drugs eventually ending up in landfills or sanitary systems and, ultimately, in the Sandusky River and Lake Erie.

Add to the 24-hour/seven days a week boxes the fact that there are occasional drug take-back events that offer another chance for the public to bring their unwanted, unused medications for proper disposal.

It’s important to note events such as these are free and anonymous, and no questions are asked….

We believe the drug drop-off boxes available in our communities and the take-back events offered are priceless. Please take advantage of them.

Online: https://bit.ly/ZnMtWm

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The (Toledo) Blade, Oct. 13

Medicaid is one of the most vital - and most expensive - items in Ohio’s state budget, consuming the highest spending of any single program. But health-care services available to low-income Medicaid enrollees in Ohio and across the country still fall far short of the need.

A new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposes improvements that states could make to their Medicaid systems, many of them without raising costs. Ohio Medicaid officials should pay attention.

In some respects, Ohio’s Medicaid rules are among the strongest in the country. The state has done good work to make services accessible and ensure compliance by insurance companies….

Ohio reported 76 violations by Medicaid insurance plans between 2008 and 2013 - more than any other state, according to the HHS report. That might sound like bad news, but it doesn’t tell the full story. Ohio’s violation rate is so high because it is one of the few states that adequately audits insurance providers for compliance with Medicaid rules.

But in other areas, Ohio falls woefully behind. A patient’s maximum wait time to see a primary care physician is 42 days, one of the highest limits in the country….

Both of these standards must improve if the state is serious about guaranteeing access to care for Medicaid enrollees, especially now that Gov. John Kasich has expanded Medicaid eligibility under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Online: https://bit.ly/1vmGbEA

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The Marietta Times, Oct. 13

When students misbehave in school, teachers and administrators have to do something, for the good of both the youngsters involved and their classmates. When disruptions become physical, prudence dictates action to protect all involved from harm.

Sometimes that means restraining students physically. And occasionally it results in isolating children in “seclusion rooms.”

Ohio public school officials recognize that is not an ideal way to handle some disruptive children. So, the state Department of Education is gathering data on how often it happens in the Buckeye State.

Though reports from schools are incomplete, it appears physical restraint and use of seclusion rooms are relatively rare. Last year, about 2,000 students - out of a total of more than 1.8 million - had to be restrained. About 900 were sent to seclusion rooms, some more than once during the year.

In most cases, children who had to be restrained were in lower grades. Often, behavioral health problems were involved.

State officials are right to urge teachers and school administrators to use “positive interventions,” including “redirecting the student to calming activities,” when outbursts occur. Obviously, no child should be sent to a seclusion room without adult supervision.

Still, keeping children who become violent from injuring themselves or others must be the first priority. Sometimes, physical restraint is the only safe option - and state officials should remember that in dealing with public school discipline.

Online: https://bit.ly/1vXqIZu

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The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Oct. 8

The magnitude and national security implications of the Ebola crisis are being underscored by the disease’s arrival in the West.

Yet the death Wednesday of Liberian traveler Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas - leaving nearly 50 others either under quarantine or close watch for possible infection with a possible second case under evaluation - and the infection of a Spanish nurse despite wearing a protective suit while treating a Spanish missionary who died, also make clear that Ebola will pose ongoing and severe challenges throughout the world until the epidemic is brought under control in its West African epicenter.

No matter what precautions are imposed, in today’s modern world of interconnected travel, Ebola will keep spreading until a way is found to contain new cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. There, estimated current cases in the thousands could balloon to 1.4 million by mid-January if no progress is made; the likelihood of just such a catastrophe grows by the day absent far more intensive international assistance…

Finally, Duncan died despite the best hospital care, and treatment with an experimental drug. Ebola is not a death sentence. But prevention — which means, in the final analysis, bringing the current epidemic under control in West Africa — is the only way to corral this outbreak, and that clearly requires that the nations of the world treat Ebola as the dangerous national security threat that it is, and invest resources accordingly to combat it.

Online: https://bit.ly/ZWys3c

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