Pennsylvania advances legislation addressing opioid dependency

Pennsylvania’s Senate Labor and Industry Committee recently advanced legislation that aims to reduce opioid dependency.

Senate Bill 147 would amend the Workers’ Compensation Act of 1915 to require employers who have a certified safety committee to provide employees with information about the consequences of addiction, including opioid painkillers.

Under Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Law, employers receive a 5 percent discount on their workers’ compensation insurance premium if they establish a certified safety committee. The bill would require employers to incorporate addiction risks to receive certification and the discount.

The Department of Labor and Industry would develop and make available the information.

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-Bedford and Cambria counties) introduced the bill. It was one of five bills approved by the committee addressing workplace issues.

“Pennsylvanians face a much greater risk of mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, so combatting the addiction crisis has never been more important than right now,” state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Carroll), committee chairwoman, said. “These bills accomplish the key goals of providing a pathway for individuals in recovery to find quality jobs to rebuild their lives, while also making sure more Pennsylvanians do not fall victim to addiction.”

The bill was originally introduced in May 2020.

Melina Druga

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