Gov. Wolf signs measures to address Pennsylvania opioid crisis

Officials blame about 3,500 deaths in Pennsylvania last year on addiction

Oxycontin, a powerful painkiller, hit the market two decades ago with bold promises, including 12-hour relief for chronic pain. Some of those promises, however, may have been false and deceptive.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Five new Pennsylvania laws are now in place to address the state’s opioid addiction and abuse problem, including limits on how much can be prescribed in an emergency room or issued to children .

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed the legislative package, which includes a mandate that doctors check the state’s prescription drug monitoring database when they prescribe opioids, not just for first-time patients.

Other measures would set up safe opioid prescribing training in medical schools and improve safe disposal of unwanted pharmaceuticals.

“These addictions start, not by the dealer of heroin, but in your own medicine cabinet. Please, for the sake of your children and your grandchildren, if you have prescription medicine that you are not using, get rid of it,” said Senator John Wozniak (D – Johnstown).

Officials blame about 3,500 deaths in Pennsylvania last year on addiction.

“If we don’t make this the number one topic in the state of Pennsylvania, then we’ll hear next year about third graders with heroin on them,” said Allegheny County Representative Ed Gainey (D).

The bills will go into effect in the coming months.

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