Surrounded by stakeholders in the Capitol Rotunda this afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a bipartisan package of bills to combat the heroin and opioid crisis. Among the bills, legislation amending the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, limiting opioid prescriptions to minors and patients in emergency rooms, establishing education curriculum on safe prescribing and creating more locations for the drop-off of prescription drugs. Governor Wolf says the bills are a step forward in curbing this public health epidemic in Pennsylvania. Heading into next session, the work is expected to continue as well as a focus on adequate treatment options for those with substance use disorder.
Below are the bills that Gov. Wolf signed into law:
Act 122 HB 1699 (Brown): This bill limits opioids prescribed to patients in hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers to seven days. Those limits wouldn’t apply in certain medical situations.
Act 123 HB 1737 (Maher): This bill allows all federal, state and local law enforcement entities, hospitals, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, long-term care nursing facilities, hospice, and commonwealth licensed pharmacies to serve as drop-off locations for any extra, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs or over-the-counter pharmaceutical products.
Act 124 SB 1202 (Yaw): This bill amends the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) Act to require continuing education in pain management, addiction and dispensing for prescribers and dispensers. The bill requires prescribers to check the ABC-MAP every time they prescribe an opioid or benzodiazepine and requires dispensers to input prescription data to the ABC-MAP within 24 hours of dispensing. Current law gives dispensers 72 hours to log in and enter information.
Act 125 SB 1368 (Killion): This bill establishes a safe opioid prescribing curriculum in medical colleges and other medical training facilities offering or desiring to offer medical training. The curriculum must include: current, age-appropriate information relating to pain management; alternatives to opioid pain medications; instructions on safe prescribing methods in the event opioids must be prescribed; identification of patients who are at risk for addiction; and, training on managing substance use disorders as chronic diseases.
Act 126 SB 1367 (Yaw): This bill limits opioids prescribed to minors to seven days. Those limits wouldn’t apply in certain medical situations.