Package of related bills heads to governor’s desk

A package of four opioid related bills passed in the state Legislature have been sent to the governor’s desk to await a final signature, according to state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township.

“Drug addiction is a preventable disease and it will take a coordinated effort across all spectrums to address it,” Yaw said. “I am grateful that the Legislature recognized the need to address opioid abuse and misuse, and I’m confident that the governor will approve these important measures.”

Two of the bills were sponsored by Yaw. One bill requires prescribers and dispensers to obtain initial and continuing education in pain management, identification of addiction and the use of opioids as effective treatment.

According to Yaw this will include implementing a prescription drug monitoring program database that will be updated every 24 hours and must be checked before opioid drugs are prescribed.

The other bill sponsored by Yaw will limit prescriptions designated for minors to a 7-day period, unless there is a medical emergency that puts the child’s health or safety at risk.

A third bill calls for a medical training facility to implement opioid-related curriculum that will further educate medical professionals in pain management methods.

Subsequently, a House of Representatives bill will create the Safe Emergency Prescribing Act to limit the quantity of opioids prescribed to a patient seeking treatment in the emergency department of the hospital.

Yaw said the purpose of the bill packaging is to create a stronger, collective, effort against the opioid crisis throughout the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf says he will sign the multi-bill package sent to his desk Wednesday. Another bill in the package stalled in the Senate, a House bill that would have required insurers to cover prescriptions for abuse-resistant painkillers and for prescribers to distribute Department of Health-provided educational materials with opioid prescriptions about the risks associated opioids.

Reports from the Associated Press were included in this article.