HARRISBURG – Landmark legislation aimed at curbing Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic was signed into law today, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
Senate Bill 1202, introduced by Senator Yaw and Senator John Wozniak (D-35), requires prescribers and dispensers to obtain initial and continuing education in pain management, identification of addiction and the use of opioids as effective treatment. The legislation also requires prescribers and dispensers to check the newly created Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Database (PDMP) each time a patient is dispensed an opioid drug product or a benzodiazepine. Additionally, prescribers and dispensers will now be mandated to update the PDMP within a 24 hour period, or “by the next business day.” The current requirement is within a 72 hour period.
Senate Bill 1367, also sponsored by Senator Yaw, will now limit prescriptions designated for minors to a seven-day duration, unless there is a medical emergency that puts the child’s health or safety at risk. The bill includes exceptions for cases involving chronic pain, cancer treatment or for palliative care or hospice care. In those cases, the medical professional would be required to document the acute medical condition in the minor’s record with the prescriber and indicate the reason why a non-opioid alternative is not appropriate to address the acute medical condition.
Three additional opioid-related measures were also approved by the Governor today.
“The legislation enacted today with the Governor’s signature will have a direct and meaningful impact on the health and welfare of our Commonwealth and its citizens,” said Senator Yaw. “These five new measures together will work to combat the rise in heroin and opioid abuse impacting every corner of our state. I have said that each of these bills can be compared to the strands of a rope. Each strand represents one measure to fight the epidemic. Alone, they might not be fully effective, but together they can strengthen the rope and our collective efforts. I appreciate the support of the legislative leadership and Governor Wolf, and I am thankful for the Governor’s prompt signing of these bills into law.”
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff