Prescription limit bill long overdue, worthy of approval

The state Senate passed legislation last week that is long overdue.

A bill chiefly sponsored by State Sen. Gene Yaw, who represents our region, would limit the number of prescription opioids- very strong pain killers – that may be dispensed.

The bill puts a seven-day cap on prescriptions to individuals for controlled substances containing opioids.

The exceptions to the rule are legitimate – a medical emergency jeopardizing the patient’s health or safety, cases involving acute pain, cancer treatment or palliative or hospice care.

There also are exceptions for patients in in-patient or hospital settings and when a prescriber is continuing a treatment initiated by another member of the practice.

It’s been pretty well established in recent years that an excessive use of prescription opioids is a major source of drug addiction.

Sen. Yaw noted that hearings held with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania during the past three years revealed that an oversupply of medications prescribed to patients can lead to opioid addiction.

What has developed is an undercurrent of doctor shopping that has resulted in an oversupply of prescription drugs, leading to abuse and addiction.

At the same time, there needs to be provisions for access to medicines without evidence of abuse for patients who rely on them on a daily basis.

This bill covers both those angles and especially attacks the reality of overprescribed opioids leading to addiction.

We hope the full Legislature expeditiously approves this long-overdue measure to fight the opioid crisis in our region and the rest of the state.