Pennsylvania lawmakers conduct opioid addiction hearing

The Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee recently conducted a hearing to address methods of combating the state’s opioid addiction epidemic.

State Sens. Tim Kearney (D-Chester/Delaware) and Anthony H. Williams (D – Delaware/Philadelphia) requested the session in the wake of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Opioid Data Dashboard. There have been 29,610 doses of Naloxone, also known as Narcan – which aids in reversing opioid overdoses, administered by emergency medical services from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 7, 2019.

“The opioid epidemic has hit our communities hard, and it’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to prevent addiction, get people into treatment and save lives,” Kearney said. “This hearing will be critical to developing the bold plans we need to tackle this crisis head-on and provide communities with the resources they need.”

Williams said the opioid epidemic has hit Philadelphia particularly hard.

“We need to find compassionate solutions for getting these drugs out of our communities, and for healing the individuals and families who have been harmed most by opioid addiction,” he said.

The numbers showed Philadelphia had the highest rates of deaths resulting from overdose in Pennsylvania with 1,118, officials said, adding Pittsburgh had the second-highest rate of overdose deaths with 487.

Pennsylvania pharmacist Daniel Ventricelli said during testimony medication assisted treatment (MAT) such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, should not be as difficult to obtain as they are currently.

He said that MAT has been proven to be the most effective treatment to prevent overdose deaths.