Rep. Barbin introduces H.B.1987 to limit fentanyl overdose deaths

HARRISBURG, Dec. 21 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, has introduced legislation that would limit the use of fentanyl in an effort to curb overdose deaths tied to Pennsylvania’s ongoing heroin epidemic.

House Bill 1987 would enact a two-year period of limited use of fentanyl for surgical procedures or a patient in hospice care only.

“The heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania is worse than ever. However, adding the potent drug fentanyl to heroin is leading to additional overdose deaths across the state,” Barbin said. “I’m hoping this bill will decrease overdose deaths and provide relief for the state’s coroners, emergency medical service workers and law enforcement.”

Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller used to treat chronic pain and provide relief to patients after surgery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes fentanyl as 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Barbin’s amendment to the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act would also call for an annual report on the state’s number of fentanyl-related overdoses and overdoses where fentanyl and opioids were present.

House Bill 1987 is co-sponsored by Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence; Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny; Rep Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware; Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks; Rep. R. Lee James, R-Venango/Butler; and Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland. The bill is expected to be introduced when the House returns to session in January.