Patients could refuse opioid prescriptions under Gainey amendment

HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – Patients concerned about the addictive effects of opioids could sign a voluntary nonopioid directive to deny their administration, under legislation amended and passed by the House, according to state Rep. Ed Gainey.

"We have a prescription drug epidemic in our state and across the country that is killing people every day and it’s unacceptable for us not to do whatever we can to help people live healthier lives," said Gainey, D-Allegheny, a co-chairman of the legislative PA Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (PA-HOPE) Caucus. "This directive would help patients to take control of the medicine they are prescribed, particularly if they know addiction could be an issue."

Gainey was the prime sponsor of the amendment adding the nonopioid directive to a Senate bill that would require health care practitioner licensing boards to implement a "safe prescription of a controlled substance controlling an opioid" curriculum.

Senate Bill 1368 returns to the Senate for concurrence in the House amendment.

Another bill the House passed this week (S.B. 1367) would implement a seven-day limit on opioid prescriptions to minors, with certain exceptions.

The bills are just two of the measures the General Assembly has undertaken to address the opioid problem.

Gov. Tom Wolf has given considerable attention to the issue as well and asked for legislative action during a September speech before a rare joint session of the General Assembly.