Advisory Committee Urges State to Adopt Controlled Substances Database

Pennsylvania urgently needs to pass a bill to enhance and improve the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, according to a June 30 letter from a recently-appointed Advisory Committee established by the Joint State Government Commission.

While the group’s full report to the General Assembly isn’t due until April 1, 2015, the committee felt it was urgent to send this message now. “The Advisory Committee takes no position on the General Assembly’s choice between Senate Bill 1180 and House Bill 1694. Rather, the committee urges the General Assembly to act quickly to adopt one of those measures for an enhanced prescription drug monitoring program for the sake of those Pennsylvanians suffering and dying every day from the debilitating and life threatening effects of opioid addiction,” they said.

The Advisory Committee—comprised of health care providers, addiction rehabilitation providers, pharmacists, drug manufacturers, public health officials, and law enforcement agencies—held its first meeting on June 26.

This comes on the heels of several statewide initiatives aimed at tackling this problem in Pennsylvania, including the push to establish a statewide, controlled substances database and the state’s drug take back programs.

PAMED has been working for several years to address opioid abuse through its Pills for Ills, Not Thrills campaign, and has developed resources to assist physicians, including:

  • Opioid Prescription Guidelines to help health care providers discuss pain management with their patients. Watch for a major announcement coming soon.
  • Six-part webinar series, approved for CME, to help educate health care providers on the appropriate use of long-acting and extended-release opioids
  • A booklet to help physicians identify pill-seeking doctor shoppers

Pennsylvania leaders also have been involved in the fight to tackle prescription drug abuse at the national level. Earlier this month, a national summit to discuss federal, state, and community responses to the prescription drug abuse crisis, was held at the White House. Andrew Gurman, MD, speaker of the AMA House of Delegates and member of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, participated in the event.