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1555 Highlands Drive
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Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
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House Confronts Opioid Abuse Epidemic
By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Aug. 31, 2016

For the past few years, Pennsylvania has seen its ongoing and devastating opioid abuse epidemic get steadily worse, with drug overdoses becoming the leading cause of death, surpassing car accidents. Beyond the public health toll, opioids are straining prisons (70 to 80 percent of all jail sentences) and are costly (nationwide, more than $50 billion annually in treatment and lost productivity).

Just recently, the governor announced that due to a law I helped enact last session, 1,000 opioid-related overdoses have been reversed – and more are being saved every day.

The House has passed a legislative package, which is now with the Senate, that addresses opioid addiction by improving insurance coverage of abuse-deterrent opioids; sets a limit on opioid prescriptions in emergency rooms; requires prescribers and dispensers to undergo continuing education in pain management, addiction and prescribing practices; mandates that publicly funded recovery houses have the opioid overdose antidote on hand; and directs the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to find ways to increase access to addiction treatment through health plans.

Also, the House and Senate have encouraged the governor to call a special legislative session this fall to continue our efforts to proactively and effectively address the opioid crisis gripping Pennsylvania. Already, the House Majority Policy Committee and the House Minority Policy Committee are engaged in a series of statewide hearings.
The hearings will culminate in a set of recommendations that will be the basis for legislation to be considered as part of the special session. If you or a loved one is facing an opioid addiction – or facing issues with other substances – please visit the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs website at

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