War against heroin epidemic shifts to legislative front

The region and state’s heroin epidemic is being fought on many fronts.

More and more, that includes a battery of state legislation geared toward arresting the impact of prescription opioids.

That’s with good reason, as prescription opioids are the root cause for 80 percent of all heroin addiction.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, a Loyalsock Township Republican, is reintroducing a bill to require insurance companies to provide abuse-deterrent opioids.

The drugs are geared to preventing people from cutting, dissolving, or crushing the pills into powder or melting the pills to inject with needles.

With the heroin epidemic “skyrocketing out of control” in Yaw’s words, information related to the legislation came from law enforcement, health care professionals, treatment providers and educators.

As chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Yaw has introduced several opioid-related bills over the past few legislative sessions.

He introduced this particular abuse deterrent bill in a previous session but it failed to get a final vote in the Senate. He was encouraged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to try again.

Everyone of reasonable mind is hoping for reliable ways to stop the heroin epidemic and the best way is to never let the addiction start. This legislation is one more piece in the fight that falls into that category and deserves a serious look.

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