(10/2016) Last session, I voted for legislation to establish a prescription drug database in Pennsylvania to help stem the growing problem of prescription opioid addiction in this Commonwealth. I am pleased to report that this program is now operational and not a moment too soon!
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, opioids ! primarily prescription pain relievers and heroin ! are the main driver of overdose deaths. The CDC claims opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths in this country in 2014
and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 2000.
Federal Drug Enforcement Agency statistics show that approximately 2,500 Pennsylvanians died from overdose of opioid drugs in 2014 and more than 3,300 in 2015, a rate higher than average nationally. Here in Adams County, law enforcement officials said prescription drug overdose deaths have risen by about 25 percent over the past five years and the numbers continue to
The opioid crisis crosses all income, race, genders and other factors. No one is immune, and the number of cases is rising sharply. In addition to the human toll, opioid abuse is costing the Commonwealth millions of dollars in hospitalization costs annually and is putting a significant strain on our prison system.
The House Republican and Democrat policy committees conducted public hearings on opioid situation throughout the state over the summer. In fact, I attended the Policy Committee meeting in York on Sept. 1. This fall, several opioid-related bills are to be considered in the House, and Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to call a joint session of the state Legislature on the issue of
The sharp rise in prescription opioid abuse and its deadly human toll led state lawmakers to pass legislation to allow the state to track data on controlled substances being prescribed to patients within the state. The statewide database, authorized through Act 191 of 2014, is now in place. It allows medical practitioners to better monitor prescription drug abuse and
detect possible fraud. The database is being maintained and monitored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).
Known as the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) Act, it is a confidential, electronic database listing all controlled substances prescribed and dispensed in Pennsylvania. The database aims to help improve patient care and prescribing practices, uncover drug diversion and identify so-called "doctor shopping."
Pennsylvania is now one of 49 states that tracks the prescribing of controlled substances or is in the process of setting up such a program. Efforts are also underway to share information with neighboring states to thwart illegal activity and abuse across state lines.
The program replaces one in the Office of Attorney General, which only required the reporting of Schedule II controlled substances, which are deemed to have a high abuse potential that can lead to dependence – such as morphine, methadone and oxycodone.
If you would like to learn more about this effort, visit www.health.pa.gov
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