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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 15, 2019 10:45 AM
From: Representative Gene DiGirolamo
To: All House members
Subject: Suboxone related deaths
I will be introducing legislation adding suboxone/buprenorphine related deaths and incidents to the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act (Act 148 of 2012).

Here is my concern. Increasingly, we are hearing about suboxone/buprenorphine incidents from around the state.

This problem is not unique to Pennsylvania. In fact, the federal government reports that emergency department visits involving buprenorphine have increased nearly ten-fold between 2005-2010. (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration). In April, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Indivior, Inc. for alleged deception regarding the safety and diversion risks of Suboxone film.

A quick scan of problems from around Pennsylvania:

Pittsburgh-A manager of opioid treatment facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia was indicted for illegally distributing suboxone and for health care fraud;

Philadelphia-A South Philly doctor admits to earning $5 million through illegal sales of suboxone and klonopin to patients with reports of people waiting in lines 100 deep near the storefront. The doctor pled guilty to conspiracy, drug distribution, money laundering and health care fraud;

Department of Corrections-Hidden in Bibles, suboxone strips were smuggled into Pennsylvania prisons, according to a Department tweet;

Scranton-A child ingests suboxone strips hidden in a Dora the Explorer book;

Huntingdon-Suboxone pills were traded to obtain a gun that was used to kill a State Trooper.

Through my legislation, the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act would be amended to include deaths and incidents attributable to the use and misuse of suboxone. I believe this will help shape policy decisions in the future about the use of this drug.

Please join me in cosponsorship of this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1662