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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 13, 2019 11:57 AM
From: Representative Eric R. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: People who leave addiction treatment against medical advice

In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation aimed at protecting the safety of people who decide to leave addiction treatment against medical advice. My bill will not change anything about protected confidential information governed by existing Federal or State laws. But it will define a best practice for people who have given their consent to share information with a loved one when that consent has not been revoked. In those instances, when the person decides to leave treatment against medical advice, I believe their loved ones should be notified. Current guidance does not prohibit such notification, nor is it explicitly required.

Rehabilitation facilities are not required to notify the approved loved one when a person backslides during treatment and discharges themselves against medical advice. The person is often picked up by their dealer or enabler while the family believes they are still safe. In Westmoreland County, this notification gap has resulted in overdose deaths and young women have also been victimized and lured into prostitution.

It is not too dramatic to state that this is a life and death matter. People in the throes of an addiction have diminished capacity for good decision making. I have been working with research staff and DDAP on this issue and believe we can save lives by requiring this best practice so that providers who are not currently providing notification will do so.

Please join me in sponsorship of this needed legislation.

Introduced as HB1052