By: Nate Spade, Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs and Meg Snead, Senior Policy Analyst September 29, 2016 SHARE TWEET Public Health, Substance Use Disorder, The Blog, Videos Yesterday, Governor Wolf addressed a Joint Session of the General Assembly to outline our collective plan to lead the nation in combatting the opioid and heroin crisis facing Pennsylvania.Watch the supercut of Governor Wolf’s address to a Joint Session on Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis.In order to stem the tide of opioid abuse and make progress for those suffering from the disease of addiction and their loved ones, we must work quickly and efficiently to pass bills to send to Governor Wolf’s desk. During the governor’s address, Governor Wolf said that he hopes to pass legislation that will strengthen the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, improve and increase education about opioid use disorder, limit opioid prescriptions to emergency room patients and minors, require insurance companies to cover abuse deterrent opioids, and establish a voluntary directive if they do not want to be prescribed opioids.Below are a number of specific pieces of legislation that would help to accomplish these goals:Strengthen the Prescription Drug Monitoring ProgramSB1202 (Yaw) HB1805 (Masser): The Governor’s Office has been working with the legislature to explore strengthening the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Database (PDMP) by amending Act 191 of 2014. This would likely be accomplished by amending one of these bills. The amendment would require prescribers to check the PDMP every time they prescribe an opioid and other controlled substances. Current law only requires prescribers to check the PDMP the first time they prescribe an opioid or other controlled substances or if they suspect a patient of suffering from the disease of addiction. In addition, the Administration’s amendment would require dispensers to input prescription data to the PDMP within 24 hours of dispensing. Current law gives dispensers (who are required to enter information into the PDMP when they dispense an opioid or other controlled substance) 72 hours to log in and enter information. The underlying bills require continuing education in pain management and dispensing and prescribing practices of opioids for prescribers and dispensers.Both bills have passed their respective chambers and are in committee in the House or Senate. One of these bills will be the vehicle for the Administration’s ABC-MAP amendment requiring the mandatory query of the PDMP.Improve and Increase EducationSB1368 (Killion): This bill requires that schools that educate opioid prescribers must implement a safe opioid prescribing curriculum in medical colleges and other medical training facilities offering or desiring to offer medical training. The curriculum must include: current, age-appropriate information relating to pain management; alternatives to opioid pain medications; instructions on safe prescribing methods in the event opioids must be prescribed; identification of patients who are at risk for addiction; and, training on managing substance use disorders as chronic diseases. This bill passed unanimously in the Senate on 9/28/16.SB 1212 (Wozniak), HB2333 (Gainey): Amend the Public School Code to require public and charter schools to offer a certain number of hours of education related to opioid abuse. SB1212 passed unanimously in the Senate on 9/28/16. HB 2333 is in the House Education Committee.Limit Opioid Prescriptions to Emergency Room Patients and MinorsHB1699 (Brown): This bill mandates that hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers may not prescribe opioids in quantities that last more than seven days and they may not refill prescriptions that have been lost, stolen, or destroyed. This bill passed the House (174-19) on 6/23/16 and has been referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.SB1367 (Yaw): This bill amends Title 35 (Health and Safety) to establish restrictions on a physicans’ ability to prescribe opioids to minors, including limiting prescriptions to seven days and requiring physicians to take a number of steps before issuing the first prescription in a single course of treatment. This bill passed unanimously in the Senate on 9/28/16.Insurance Coverage for Abuse Deterrent OpioidsHB1698 (Heffley) – This bill requires health insurance plans and carriers to provide access to abuse deterrent opioids. This bill passed the House (190-3) and has been referred to Senate Banking and Insurance.Establish a Voluntary DirectiveHB 2335 (Gainey): Require DOH to develop and publish a uniform voluntary non-opioid directive form, which could be used by a patient to deny or refuse the administration or prescribing of an opioid drug by a practitioner. This bill is in the House Health Committee. The Bills We Need to Get to Gov. Wolf’s Desk to Curb the Opioid Epidemic Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Sydney (AFP) – Australia star Steve Smith admitted Monday he has barely picked up a bat since cricket shut down, but said he was in his best physical shape in years.The 30-year-old, the world’s number one Test batsman, has been out of action since March, when Australia’s one-day series against New Zealand was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.He returned to training with his New South Wales teammates Monday as they await the green light for competitive cricket to start again, targeting a home one-day series against Zimbabwe in August.“I feel like I’ve had a pre-season the last couple of months. Got myself into probably the best shape I’ve been in years. Lots of running, lots of gym stuff,” Smith said.“It’s been a couple of months of good hard work and now back with the boys, which is great.”But with no net practice, he has barely picked up his bat.“I haven’t touched a bat, really. A couple of little drills at home but that’s about it,” said Smith, who has plundered more than 7,000 Test runs.“I’ve just tried to switch off from it a bit, which I don’t do very often. I was just focusing on getting myself fit and strong and refreshing mentally.“It’s been a bit different but I’m sure in the long run it will probably be a good thing to freshen up after what was a pretty long year-and-a-half since the World Cup and Ashes and summer here.“I’m refreshed and ready to go,” he added.If the virus had not struck, Smith would have been in the plane to Bangladesh this month for a two-Test series, after playing in the postponed Indian Premier League.He was one of six Cricket Australia-contracted players in the New South Wales squad who rejoined their state teammates Monday, including David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon.The squad has been divided into four groups who alternate morning and afternoon indoor gym and skills sessions as part of COVID-19 return-to-training protocols.