Gov. Corbett Discusses Initiatives Aimed at Tackling eRx Drug Abuse in Pennsylvania

Physician General Carrie DeLone, MD, discusses prescription drug monitoring at a news conference.

More Pennsylvanians die from drug overdoses than from any other type of injury, including car accidents. Pennsylvania also ranks 14th highest for drug overdose mortality rates.

At a news conference held in Pittsburgh on May 9, 2014, Gov. Tom Corbett and Physician General Carrie DeLone, MD, talked about several initiatives aimed at tackling the prescription drug abuse crisis in Pennsylvania, including:

  • A controlled substance database, strongly supported by the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), which will give Pennsylvania physicians better knowledge of prescriptions written for and filled by a patient.
  • Drug take-back programs that give Pennsylvanians a secure place to dispose of unused medications. To find a drug take-back box location in your county, view the interactive map. More than 3,500 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected through the boxes in the first quarter of this year.

PAMED was represented at the news conference by Allegheny County Medical Society President-Elect John Williams, MD.

At the news conference, Gov. Corbett emphasized the need for education.

PAMED and the Corbett administration have been hard at work on the likely adoption of voluntary prescribing guidelines for the treatment of chronic pain. Currently there are two efforts under way—one by the Corbett administration and a task force of PAMED’s Specialty Leadership Cabinet and the other by the PA House of Representative.

PAMED, who has been working for years to address opioid abuse with its Pills for Ills, Not Thrills campaign, has several resources to assist physician with this issue, including:

  • Opioid Prescription Guidelines to help health care providers discuss pain management with their patients
  • 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

In addition to Gov. Corbett and Dr. DeLone, also speaking at the conference were Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland); Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association; Linda Rosenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; and Gary Tennis, the Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Families impact by opioid addiction and overdoses and members of the medical and law enforcement communities also were present.