Pennsylvania Lawmakers Propose Bill Package to Combat Opioid Crisis
July 2019 ~
The Pennsylvania Senate has approved a package of bills to collectively combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic. The legislation includes seven bills, each designed to address specific issues and areas pertaining to opioid prescription and abuse.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, opioid drug deaths statewide rose steadily in the early part of the decade before peaking at 5,559 in 2017. The number of opioid drug deaths finally declined in 2018 to 4,267. At the same time, opioid prescriptions in Pennsylvania declined by 14 percent between 2016 and 2017.
The provisions included in the seven-bill package, aim to improve prescription drug monitoring, limit opioid prescriptions, target drug dealers as well as limit damage inflicted by the state’s addiction crisis.
The legislation package includes:
- Senate Bill 112 limits the prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid to seven-days unless there is a medical emergency that puts the patients’ health or safety at risk.
- Senate Bill 93 creates a new statute establishing a second-degree felony for the delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in “serious bodily injury” to the user.
- Senate Bill 118 creates a Recovery-to-Work pilot program to connect individuals in recovery with occupations through local workforce development boards.
- Senate Bill 223 allows providers to leave a dose package of naloxone with an on-scene caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids.
- Senate Bill 432 allows Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to have access to the information in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
- Senate Bill 572 requires new patients who need a prescribed opioid regimen to enter into treatment agreements with a prescriber.
- Senate Bill 675 requires certification of office-based prescribers and limiting its use.
The package has moved to the state House for review where it is currently awaiting review.