Stephens Backs Special Legislative Session to Fight Opioid Abuse
HARRISBURG—Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) joined his colleagues in passing legislation to combat opioid drug abuse. In addition, Stephens joined a bipartisan press conference to call for a special session of the General Assembly to find ways to strengthen the fight against the opioid crisis.

“Opioid drug abuse is rampant in our state,” Stephens said. “This disease doesn’t discriminate and affects rural, suburban and urban communities. We must do all we can to end this epidemic that takes lives every day.”

Standing in the Capitol Rotunda, Stephens joined Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican and Democratic colleagues from across the state.

“This bipartisan support is critical,” Stephens said. “That’s why I joined my colleagues in encouraging a special session of the Legislature to further examine opioid abuse. We need all hands on deck to address this important issue.”


You can watch the press conference here.

Before the press conference, Stephens joined his colleagues in passing legislation recommended by the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation.

House Bill 1698 requires insurance company plans provide access to abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs that are designed to be harder to crush, cut, dissolve or inject.

“When some people abuse a drug like OxyContin, which is a time-release drug, they often chew it and get the full dose of a drug meant to be released over time,” Stephens said. “That full dose can be deadly. While we must help patients in chronic pain, we must reduce the potential lethal consequences.”

Stephens also backed House Bill 1699 to prohibit health care practitioner in an emergency room from prescribing more than seven days of an opioid drug. There is an exception for a patient with an acute medical condition or when it is necessary for the treatment of pain associated with a cancer diagnosis.

“Too often patients become addicted to opioids after a trip to the emergency room where they were prescribed pain killers,” Stephens said. “That can begin the spiral into addiction for some.”

Under the bill, if a health care practitioner prescribes more than a seven-day supply, the health care practitioner is required to document the condition triggering prescription of the opioid in the patient's medical record, and must indicate that a non-opioid drug product alternative was not appropriate to treat the medical condition.

Also passed were House Bill 1737 that aims to reduce prescription drug abuse and ensure the safety of Pennsylvania’s drinking water by providing for the proper disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter medications; and House Bill 1805 to require doctors and pharmacists to attend three hours of opioid and addiction-related training prior to obtaining relevant licenses.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster

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