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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 27, 2018 03:58 PM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Ensuring patients understand the risks of opioid addiction
I plan to introduce legislation to further address the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic by requiring patients who are prescribed opioids to enter into treatment agreements with a prescriber to ensure patients understand the risks of addiction and dangers of overdose associated with the medication and their role and responsibilities regarding their treatment.

A provision of the treatment agreement would require new patients to undergo baseline drug testing to establish a general assessment of the new patient and periodic drug testing as deemed medically necessary in order to monitor adherence to existing patient treatment plans. Baseline drug testing performed by a prescriber to identify aberrant behavior, undisclosed drug use and/or abuse and verification of compliance with treatment would be conducted in accordance with recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its 2016 Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and at the prescriber’s discretion.

Additionally, language in the treatment agreements would also provide educational information to the patient prior to the individual being prescribed the opioid medication.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most recent data estimates that 142 Americans die every day from a drug overdose. In Pennsylvania, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported that the total number of fatal drug overdoses in the Commonwealth rose 37% from 2015 to 2016. Enacting public policies, like the legislation I am planning to address is necessary to address the Commonwealth’s opioid crisis and to protect the health, safety and welfare of affected citizens in Pennsylvania.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB2431