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Lawmakers resume work, committees to vote on opioid legislation

Action is expected on several bills related to opioids this week in Harrisburg as state lawmakers return to work for a final session before November’s election.

The opioid-related bills are a main focus for lawmakers this fall, as Pennsylvania in 2015 lost nearly 3,500 residents to drug-related causes – mainly due to opioid pain pill and heroin use.

Those numbers are climbing this year, and Gov. Tom Wolf has urged both the state House and the Senate to pass legislation that could help slow down what has been deemed a public health crisis.

On Sept. 28, state senators passed three bills pertaining to opioid pain pills and heroin. The bills would establish rules for prescribing opioids to minors, add opioid education to public schools and require physicians to take a class on prescribing opioids before receiving a license to prescribe them.

Those bills are now before House committees, and are scheduled for votes this week. If the bills pass their respective committees, they will move to the House floor for final votes.

Although three bills are moving forward, other opioid-related bills in both the House and the Senate have yet to see action in the fall session.

Wolf addressed lawmakers in September during a joint session of the General Assembly. He highlighted legislation he would like to see passed this fall. The bills up for vote this week are on the governor’s wish list, which he shared with the Central Penn Business Journal in September.

Lenay Ruhl

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