Venkat’s opioid overdose awareness toolkit bill passes PA House

HARRISBURG, June 12 – State Rep. Arvind Venkat’s bill that would require the creation of materials to circulate information about the ongoing opioid public health crisis passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with a bipartisan majority today.

The legislation, H.B. 1783, would require the state Department of Health to consult with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to create a poster, to be displayed in public and private settings, which provides information about opioid overdose. The information would include:

  • Signs of an opioid-related overdose.
  • What to do if an opioid-related overdose occurs.
  • Locating an agent to reverse opioid effects.
  • Additional resources.

“I’ve treated many patients in the throes of an opioid overdose as an emergency physician, and proactive measures to help stem the tide of this crisis are imperative,” Venkat, D-Allegheny, said. “I’m grateful to bipartisan House colleagues, especially Representative Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana), not only for their affirmative votes, but for their commitment to saving as many lives as possible with this legislation.”

The legislation additionally would authorize the creation of a Lifetime Recovery from Substance Use Grant Program to assist in the development, expansion or improvement of recovery support services delivery in Pennsylvania. Spearheaded by state Reps. Jim Gregory, R-Blair/Huntingdon, and Joseph Hohenstein, D-Phila., the grant program would fund further services for aiding those with opioid addiction.

“I thank my bipartisan colleagues for their work to further expand this legislation to address the opioid crisis,” Venkat added. “This important bill will both increase public awareness of how to treat those with an acute overdose and help meet the need for long-term recovery.”

Since 1999, over 1 million people in the United States have died from drug overdose.

The legislation now moves to the state Senate for consideration.