Bizzarro: Bill would protect against theft of older adults' prescription medication

HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, has reintroduced legislation that aims to cut down on the theft of prescription medication from older adults.

H.B. 511, which was introduced as H.B. 2006 during the prior legislative session, would amend state law to add theft offenses and corresponding minimum mandatory sentences for taking or extorting, disposing of, or deceiving to acquire prescription medication from adults over 60.

“One in five Pennsylvanians is 60 or older,” Bizzarro said. “Unfortunately, many of these older adults are increasingly victims of various forms of fraud and abuse. House Bill 511 would address the growing problem of prescription medication theft in Pennsylvania by holding accountable those people who exploit the elderly.”

Under H.B. 511, prescription medication theft by unlawful taking or disposition would carry a minimum mandatory sentence of one year. Theft occurring by deception or offenses related to extortion would result in a minimum mandatory sentence of six months.

In addition to cutting down on elder abuse, Bizzarro hopes the legislation would help curb prescription drug abuse in the commonwealth.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports prescription drug abuse is now an epidemic, with more than three out of four people who misuse prescription painkillers using drugs prescribed to another person,” Bizzarro said. “Here in Pennsylvania, families and communities are ripped apart by drug use and overdoses. It is time to pass House Bill 511, both to protect our older Pennsylvanians and to help those struggling with prescription drug abuse.”