Senate Legislation


Senate Bill 221 – (Greenleaf):  Prohibits the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. SB 1144 passed the Senate (49-0) on May 11,2016, and is now before the House Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 391 – (Costa): Senate Bill 391 amends the Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA) giving families the opportunity to seek involuntary commitments of loved ones for treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. While Pa law currently allows for involuntary commitment of those diagnosed with a mental illness, the current statute does not consider substance abuse disorder as a mental disorder. Amending the Mental Health Procedures Act will provide authority for a spouse, relative or guardian to petition for the involuntary commitment of an individual for treatment purposes. Under the proposed law, families could petition their county administrator to determine whether an individual suffers from addiction and is a threat to themselves or others.

Senate Bill 418 – (Rafferty): Requires pharmacy technicians to register annually with the State Board of Pharmacy and be required to submit a criminal history background check. This legislation also provides that pharmacy technicians must complete a board-approved training program for pharmacy technicians and also beat least 17 years of age.

Senate Bill 419 – (Yaw): Requires county coroner’s and/or medical examiner’s in the state to report in writing to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) the death of any person resulting from a drug overdose, giving the time and place of the death and the related circumstances.

Senate Bill 533 – (Schwank): The State’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will be charged with establishing the Emergency Addiction Treatment Program that will offer new addiction treatment facilities for those drug users that are currently going without care. The facilities will either be existing long-term residential addiction treatment facilities, licensed halfway homes, or new facilities. The program will also include new intake methods to provide information to those with addiction problems or their family and friends, advice and assistance in accessing treatment, arid data collection to help identify patterns of addiction.

Senate Bill 534 – (Costa):  Requires that an assessment be imposed on the first sale of opioids within the state by manufactures or importers. The law will prohibit the assessment from being passed onto the retail level, in addition to the treatment and education programs proposed in separate legislation, the revenue from the assessment will be used to support the purchase of naloxone by local law enforcement and emergency management personnel and to support existing county addiction prevention and treatment programs.

Senate Bill 535 – (Dinniman):  Creates 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.

Senate Bill 644 – (Rafferty): Prohibits an authorized seller or distributor of a Schedule II drug from accepting a prescription order from a person not personally known to him unless he obtains a printed name, signature and address of the person who submits the prescription order.

Senate Bill 640 – (Rafferty): Establishes an official state prescription form for distribution by the Secretary’ of Health for use by medical professionals authorized to prescribe drugs. These forms will be serially numbered and non-transferable and would be required for use by a medical professional when prescribing any Schedule 11, III or IV prescription drug.

Senate Bill 674 – (Rafferty): Implements automatic scheduling changes for controlled substances in Pennsylvania in coordination with a proposed federal scheduling change. Automatic scheduling would occur sixty days after such change occurs on the federal level.

Senate Bill 710 – (Brewster): A person charged with a minor non-violent criminal offense (misdemeanor one and lower) who has been treated by first responders in emergency situations can be subject to mandatory commitment to a treatment facility if its is determined that he or she is addicted and believed to be a danger to himself or herself or others. The person charged, his or her attorney, or the district attorney will initiate the mandatory treatment procedure. A hearing would be held within 10 days of arrest to ascertain whether the person can be involuntarily treated. The initial period of treatment would be 12 months. If the person successfully completes treatment then the underlying criminal charges may be dismissed.

Senate Bill 711 – (Brewster): This proposal would prohibit opioid prescriptions of more than 100 milligrams of morphine or the equivalent each day. This portion of the plan mirrors a law now in force in Maine that restricts opioid prescriptions and builds on guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state medical board guidelines. The CDC indicated that patients receiving prescriptions in higher levels than those specified in the guidelines are linked to patient harm and represent a disproportionate share of overdoses.

Senate Bill 712 – (Brewster): This is directly aimed at drug dealers who illegally possess guns. The measure restores strict sentences for armed drug dealers previously invalidated by the courts. The proposal stiffens penalties for those possession both large quantities of drugs and illegal weapons. Sentences are enhanced by one grade if the individual is convicted of dealing while illegally possessing a weapon.

Co-sponsorship Memo – (Brewster): Creates the Addiction Treatment Professional Loan Forgiveness Program which will offer qualified alcohol and drug addiction counselors student loan forgiveness up to $7,500 per year for up to four years, totaling up to $30,000. The counselor must agree to work at a licensed drug and alcohol treatment facility for at least 4 years.

Co-sponsorship Memo – (Yaw): Requires that insurance plans provide access to abuse deterrent opioid analgesic drugs, and apply cost-sharing provisions for these products at the same level as the cost-sharing applied to other brand name and generic drugs covered under the insurance plans’ formularies.

Co-sponsorship Memo − (Greenleaf): Provides for a comprehensive pre-release plan for inmates with substance use disorders to assure transition to a wide range of integrated reentry services; educating and training government-funded professionals (i.e., law enforcement, criminal justice personnel) who come into contact with individuals engaged in risky substance use, and healthcare professionals in addressing risky substance use and addiction; requiring treatment programs and providers to utilize evidence-based prevention and treatment approaches; and requiring insurers to provide coverage for screening. brief intervention, and referral to treatment —an effective method to intervene in alcohol and drug misuse. The measure also provides that a defendant, at the time of arraignment, shall undergo screening for substance abuse and addiction.At the time of setting bail, the court may include drug and alcohol treatment as a condition of bail. In addition, the bill establishes continuing education requirements to train licensees (i.e., physicians, psychiatrists) on the best practices of prescribing controlled substances.

Enacted Legislation

2016 Act 122 – Safe Emergency Prescribing ActProviding for limitations on the dispensing of opioid drug products in hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers and to patients in observation status and for duties of the Department of Health; and imposing a penalty.

2016 Act 125: An Act amending Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in public safety, providing for prescribing opioids to minors; imposing powers and duties on certain Commonwealth agencies and on the Legislative Reference Bureau; and imposing penalties

2016 Act 126: An Act amending Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in public safety, providing for safe opioid prescription and for patient voluntary nonopioid directive and imposing powers and duties on certain Commonwealth agencies.

House Legislation


House Bill 1511 – (Digirolamo) PN 2140: Establishes the Emergency Addiction Treatment Program and the Opioid Reparation and Accountability Fund to better assist individuals with drug and alcohol addictions.

House Bill 1294 – (DiGirolamo):  Requires doctors who prescribe buprenorphine to check the Prescription Monitoring Database every time they write a prescription for buprenorphine.

House Bill 1295 – (DiGirolamo): Amends the Methadone Death and Incident Review Act to include Suboxone related deaths and incidents for review – specifically, to include deaths and incidents attributable to the use and misuse of Suboxone.

House Bill 1568 – (DiGirolamo):  Requires that all persons classified as protective services workers receive basic training in alcohol and drug abuse and addiction, warning signs of alcohol and drug problems and how to make appropriate referrals for assessment and treatment of addiction.

House Bill 1698 – (Heffley): Requires that insurance plans provide access to abuse deterrent opioid analgesic drugs, and apply cost-sharing provisions for these products at the same level as the cost-sharing applied to other brand name and generic drugs covered under the insurance plans’ formularies.

House Bill 1699 – (R. Brown):  Prohibits emergency providers from prescribing long acting opioid painkillers in emergency rooms and places a limit on discharge prescriptions. Additionally, patients whose behavior raises a provider’s concern for addiction will be referred to treatment.

House Bill 1748 – (Mahoney): Requires that a separate course of study for drug and alcohol instruction be developed for grades five through twelve to provide targeted instruction for the most at-risk age group. Additionally, the legislation requires that all teachers receive training in recognizing the signs a student is using or abusing drugs or alcohol and the appropriate steps to take in case they suspect a student is using or abusing drugs or alcohol.

House Bill 1805 – (Masser): Requires individuals who are applying for a license or certification, or renewing a license or certification, to have met a certain number of approved continuing medical education classes which address addiction and addiction treatment; specifically requires hours of training prior to being licensed or certified initially and 2 hours of training for each renewal period. Requiring this nominal training will begin to assist our health care providers in preventing and ending the cycle of addiction.

House Bill 2029 – (Gainey): Creates a program within the Department of Human Services to purchase prescription drugs or reimburse pharmacies for prescription drugs such as Naloxone in order to receive discounted prices and rebates.

House Bill 2128 – (Heffley): Requires Naloxone (Narcan) to be kept in recovery houses that receive public funding.

House Bill 2156 – (Davis): Creates municipal standards for recovery houses, permitting a municipality’s governing body to adopt ordinances establishing minimal standards for recovery residences.

House Bill 2173 – (Murt): Strengthens the ability of the Department of Insurance to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act of 2008 (“Parity”). Parity was passed by Congress. and signed into law by President George W. Bush. It afforded citizens groundbreaking new rights in access to behavioral health treatment by requiring insurers to make their behavioral health benefit no more restrictive than their physical health benefit.

House Resolution 363 – (Donatucci): Joint resolution urging the General Assembly to immediately appoint Representatives and Senators to a bipartisan, geographic diverse committee, to be known as the “Heroin and Opioids Addiction Eradication and Treatment Committee.”

Co-sponsorship Memo – (Heffley):  Requires the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to promulgate regulations on the certification of recovery houses that recieve funding from any public source.