Senate committees advance two Phillips-Hill measures aimed at fighting opioid epidemic


HARRISBURG – Two Senate committees advanced measures sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) aimed at combating the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania.

Phillips-Hill said the local challenges and input were the inspiration for both proposals.

“We have a major opioid problem and these bills are representative of what I’ve heard locally,” Phillips-Hill said. “I’m grateful to both committees for their recognition of the importance of these bills to assist in combatting our ever-increasing opioid problem both in York County and across the commonwealth.”

Senate Bill 223 allows for first responders and EMS providers to leave a dose of naloxone with a family member or friend who is caring for an individual who overdosed.

In 2018, Governor Wolf issued a statewide disaster declaration for a public health emergency, which also allowed EMS providers to leave behind the lifesaving treatment with a caregiver. Phillips-Hill’s legislation will allow first responders to leave naloxone behind regardless of an emergency declaration. The bill requires a standing order by the Department of Health for the purchase of naloxone by the public, and the option for EMS providers to provide this lifesaving treatment based on their professional opinion and funding.

“We need to provide more options, especially in rural areas where first responders may not be able to respond to an overdose in time to save a life,” Phillips-Hill said.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s remarks here.

Senate Bill 432 builds on the reforms passed in 2014 that created the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that prevents and limits prescription drug abuse by giving prescribers and dispensers more information on those seeking prescription drugs. Phillips-Hill’s legislation allows Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to have access to the information in the program.

Phillips-Hill says the legislation will achieve two goals. “I believe this will not only flag prescription drug abuse in the state’s Medicaid program, but will also reduce the need for drug treatment and rehabilitation in the future,” she added.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s remarks here.

Senate Bill 223 was unanimously approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Senator Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland), while the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Senator Michele Brooks (R-Crawford/Erie/Mercer/Warren), unanimously approved Senate Bill 432.

Both bills move to the full Senate for consideration.

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