A southern Ohio lawmaker who's also a physician says he's sponsoring a bill to address prescription drug abuse through restrictions on how the drugs are prescribed and provided.

According to the Portsmouth Daily Times, Republican Rep. Terry Johnson said the measure would crack down on so-called "pill mills," where patients pay for painkiller prescriptions. It would limit the ability of prescribers to provide some controlled substances and improve licensing and oversight of pain-management clinics, he said.

When pharmacies won't fill prescriptions from pill mills, some doctors dispense medicine themselves, and the legislation also would help curtail that practice, Johnson said.

He called prescription drug abuse "a scourge that knows no socioeconomic or ethnic boundaries" and said the bill is an effort to fight back.

Johnson's district includes troubled Scioto County. Gov. John Kasich recently visited that area to discuss the prescription drug problem, and his office said 9.7 million doses of prescription painkillers were given out in the county last year — the equivalent of 123 doses for each resident. He has launched a task force to tackle the issue at the state level.

Johnson said there's wide support for the legislation, House Bill 93, and that there was coordination with Kasich's office and the attorney general. Republican House Speaker William Batchelder is one of more than a dozen co-sponsors.

"This bill closes the loopholes caused by rogue prescribers and pill mill operations that kill four Ohioans a day," said Republican state Rep. David Burke, a pharmacist from Marysville who is also sponsoring the measure. "The time for talk has ended and the time for action has begun."

The measure incorporates ideas from previous legislative proposals targeting pill mills, Johnson said.

The proposal also suggests a statewide "take back" program to let residents with unused prescription medications turn them in to authorities instead of improperly disposing of them or letting them sit in a medicine cabinet where they might be stolen, he said.