State Legislation Aims to Reduce Opioid Abuse

Recently, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, which is touching all socioeconomic classes. From a legislative perspective, one strategy for addressing the crisis would be to implement a prescription drug formulary in Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensations system, which would streamline medication prescriptions to help patients avoid the overuse that can result in addiction. In doing so, it is also expected to lower rising costs within the workers’ compensation system – as has been proven in other states like Ohio, where the number of opioid prescriptions dropped by 38 percent and the number of opioid-dependent WC patients was reduced by half just three years after their formulary was adopted.

Over 70 chambers from across Pennsylvania, including the Columbia Montour Chamber, are supporting House Bill 18 and Senate Bill 936, which would create a drug formulary. A letter was sent to members of the General Assembly in mid-November. S.B. 936 recently cleared the Senate with bipartisan support and the House is expected to consider the legislation in the few session days remaining this year.

Organizations and individuals are also encouraged to contact their state representative and urge them to support S.B. 936. Tell them that drug formularies are common across other state workers’ compensation systems, private healthcare and public programs like Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and have been shown to help address overuse of and addition to prescription drugs among injured workers in the states that adopt these policies.