State Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-North Strabane Township, introduced legislation that would concentrate on strategies to combat drug abuse and the opioid epidemic engulfing the state and nation.
Neuman’s House Resolution 814, which garnered bipartisan support and was referred to the House Rules Committee, would create a Subcommittee on Drug Abuse within the House Health Committee. The panel would have the dual mission of bolstering substance abuse treatments while emphasizing prevention.
Leading the subcommittee’s responsibilities would be:
• Ensuring coordinated and consistent treatment and prevention practices among government agencies, stakeholders and law enforcement;
• Working with drug and alcohol abuse professionals to review and upgrade addiction treatment programs;
• Developing with schools early education and intervention programs;
• Ensuring Pennsylvania’s prescription drug monitoring program is fully operational and monitoring efforts with neighboring states are properly coordinated; and
• Improving education within the medical and pharmaceutical professions about the dangers of overprescribing and over-dispensing opioids.
“Prescription opioid drug abuse kills more people than all other narcotics combined, and opioid prescriptions now exceed 250 million annually – more than one for every adult in the country,” Neuman said. “We have an appalling problem that demands more attention.”
Neuman said early education and prevention will be critical. “The subcommittee would be at the front line of developing and implementing effective strategies to stop addictions before they take root,” he said.