Medical form to let patients refuse opioids now available, as called for by Gainey legislation

HARRISBURG, Jan. 19 – A two-page form that lets patients refuse opioid therapy, as called for in legislation put forth by state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, has recently been made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The new medical form has its genesis in H.B. 2335, introduced by Gainey in the last legislative session, which called for creation of the Pennsylvania Patient Non-Opioid Directive. It permits patients opt out of treatment with opioids by checking a box, and is valid for all medical and dental care.

Recognizing the importance of getting this done no matter who gets credit, Gainey, co-chairman of the Pennsylvania Heroin, Opioid Prevention & Education Caucus, amended his language into S.B. 1367, which became law as Act 125 of 2016.

During House debate, Gainey explained: “A patient who does not want to have opioid drugs administered or prescribed could sign a form and present it to his or her practitioner, evidencing his or her desire not to be administered or prescribed any opioid drug, such as Oxycodone, Vicodin or morphine. This is a patient rights issue, it is a public safety and health issue – and I urge (this amendment’s) passage.”

Gainey said that while the measure became law in late 2016, it took additional time for the Health Department to create, approve and make available the form. It indicates to all prescribers, practitioners and health care facilities that a patient has opted not to be administered an opioid drug or offered a prescription for an opioid drug, which does not have abuse-deterrent properties.

“Giving people the power to refuse legally prescribed opioids is an important tool in the fight against the addiction that is ravaging communities across the commonwealth,” Gainey said. “I am pleased to see this aspect of Act 125 finally come to fruition, and I thank the Health Department for their work in getting this form finalized.”