Ohio Governor’s movement leads to new informed consent requirement

Citing that “most teens who abuse pain relievers say they get them from family and friends,” the use of prescription pain drugs continues to take center stage and has spurred an Ohio law requiring new procedures when prescribing opioids to minors.1

In an effort to protect more children from drug abuse, Governor John Kasich spearheaded the “Start Talking!” movement, and it is now the namesake of the consent standard. All Ohio health care practitioners must now record the consent of a minor’s parent or guardian on a wholly separate document, known as the “Start Talking!” informed consent form. The form must also be maintained in the minor patient’s medical record. 

All health care practitioners prescribing opioids to minors must utilize a separate consent form and ensure that the consent form meets the following requirements of Ohio Revised Code Section 3719.061, including:

  1. The name and quantity of the compound being prescribed and the amount of the initial dose;
  2. A statement indicating that a controlled substance is a drug or other substance that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has identified as having a potential for abuse;
  3. A statement certifying that the prescriber has discussed with the minor and the minor's parent, guardian, or another adult authorized to consent to the minor's medical treatment specific matters concerning the risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioids, as well as the minor's mental health and substance abuse history;
  4. The number of refills, if any, authorized by the prescription; and
  5. The signature of the minor's parent, guardian, or another adult authorized to consent to the minor's medical treatment and the date of signing.

There is an exception to the "Start Talking!" form when the treatment is associated with a medical emergency, surgery, or rendered in a hospital or similar institutional facility. However, this exception does not apply to treatment rendered in a practitioner’s office that is located on the premises of, or adjacent to, an institutional facility. 

All Ohio practitioners who may prescribe opioids to minors should thoroughly review O.R.C. 3719.061 and immediately implement measures to comply with this new requirement. To aid practitioners in adhering to this new requirement, the State Medical Board of Ohio created a model "Start Talking!" consent form. See the form here.