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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 20, 2016 03:23 PM
From: Senator John N. Wozniak
To: All Senate members
Subject: School Aged Children Opioid Awareness Education Program
In the near future I will be introducing legislation that is part of a package of bills that the Senate Democrats are introducing to address the opioid epidemic confronting Pennsylvania.

The extent of the addiction and overdose death epidemic in Pennsylvania is appalling, causing at least seven victims to die every day from drug overdoses. There were over 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 and estimates that the 2015 total will be higher action is required.

A University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study showed that fatal drug overdoses in Pennsylvania increased 14-fold between 1979 and 2014.

Additionally, the highest rates of drug overdose deaths were found in counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, those surrounding Philadelphia and in the northeast near Scranton.

Some estimates are that 80% of current heroin users switched to heroin when prescription opioids became too expensive or too difficult to procure.

As part of the package of bills we will be introducing the School Aged Children Opioid Awareness Education Program. The Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Health, and Education will be required to work cooperatively to design a request for proposals for organizations that can provide opioid awareness education programs to be delivered in schools.

Currently the United Way is delivering such a program in Clarion and Cambria Counties, and UPMC has devised a pediatrician driven model in Allegheny County. These programs should be funded and replicated around the state to reduce prevent opioid addiction in children.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Josh Myers at jmyers@pasenate.com or at 717-787-5400. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB1212