Wolf signs mea­sures to ad­dress opi­oid cri­sis

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

HARRISBURG, PA. >> Penn­syl­va­nia Gov. Tom Wolf signed five new laws Wed­nes­day to ad­dress the state’s opi­oid ad­dic­tion and abuse prob­lem, in­clud­ing lim­its on how much can be pre­scribed in an emer­gency room or is­sued to chil­dren .

The Demo­cratic gov­er­nor signed the el­e­ments of a leg­isla­tive pack­age that in­clude a man­date that doc­tors check the state’s pre­scrip­tion drug mon­i­tor­ing data­base when they pre­scribe opi­oids, not just for first-time pa­tients.

Other mea­sures es­tab­lish safe opi­oid pre­scrib­ing train­ing in med­i­cal schools and are in­tended to im­prove safe dis­posal of un­wanted phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals .

“Please, for the sake of your chil­dren and your grand­chil­dren, if you have pre­scrip­tion medicine that you’re not us­ing, get rid of it,” said Sen. John Woz­niak, D-Cam­bria, who spoke at the bill sign­ing cer­e­mony in the Capi­tol Ro­tunda.

Wolf said re­peat­edly there was more work to be done to solve what he called a scourge and a plague.

“This is just a start, let’s keep work­ing on it,” said Wolf, who said he sup­ports a shift away from stig­ma­tiz­ing drug ad­dic­tion and to­ward treat­ing it as a dis­ease.

Opi­oid pre­scrip­tions in emer­gency rooms and for chil­dren would be lim­ited to a seven-day sup­ply.

Med­i­cal stu­dents will be learn­ing, among other things, al­ter­na­tives to opi­oids and how to iden­tify pa­tients at risk of be­com­ing ad­dicted.

The state also is al­low­ing all law en­force­ment sta­tions, hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes and li­censed phar­ma­cies to be­come dropoff sites for ex­pired or un­needed pre­scrip­tion drugs or over-the-counter phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts.

Of­fi­cials at­tribute about 3,500 deaths in Penn­syl­va­nia last year to ad­dic­tion.

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