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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Baker Applauds New Laws to Help Combat State’s Opioid Epidemic

HARRISBURG – Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter), chairman of the House Health Committee, joined Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed five new bills into law that will help address the Commonwealth’s growing opioid and heroin crisis.

“More and more deaths are being attributed to opioid and heroin overdoses every day,” said Baker. “We have taken steps at the state level to help curb the overuse of prescription opioids that can often lead to addiction and the eventual use of heroin, which is cheaper and more easily obtainable that prescription opioids. As chairman of the House Health Committee, I have been at the forefront of this fight and welcomed the opportunity to shepherd many of the bills through my committee.”

The five bills signed into law are as follows:

House Bill 1699, which sets a seven-day limit on the discharge prescription of opioids in emergency departments.

House Bill 1737, which provides for the proper disposal of unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

Senate Bill 1202, which requires prescribers and dispensers to obtain education in pain management, identification of addiction and the use of opioids; and requires queries when prescribing or dispensing an opioid benzodiazepine drug.

Senate Bill 1367, which prohibits prescribing an opioid to a minor, with certain limitations, for more than seven days.

Senate Bill 1368, which requires the state boards of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, Osteopathic Medical and Podiatry to create a safe opioid prescribing curriculum to be offered in medical schools across Pennsylvania by August 2017. It also directs the Department of Health to establish a form for a patient to complete which will opt the patient out of being offered opioids.

“These are just a handful of the worthy legislative measures the House and Senate have worked on during the past session,” said Baker. “As we learn more about opioid addiction and how best to treat those who are addicted, I am sure additional meaningful legislation will work its way through the legislative process.”

Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) joined Gov. Tom Wolf, other lawmakers, afflicted families, and law enforcement and medical personnel as the governor signed five new bills into law that will help address the Commonwealth’s growing opioid and heroin crisis.

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