Package of bills to tackle opioid crisis re-introduced
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 02.08.17
(Harrisburg) -- Governor Tom Wolf and the Republican-led Legislature have worked to deal with the opioid crisis in the past year.
Now, a legislator is proposing a set of bills once again.
Republican Representative Aaron Kaufer of Luzerne County is re-introducing legislation to help in the fight to save lives from opioid overdoses.
Kaufer says his top priority is one bill that would try to encourage hospitals to turn some beds into places where patients could detox.
"They need a place to go. We need to have somewhere as legislators, as law enforcement, as people in the community, even as family members and friends, that when somebody realizes and that window cracks open that they need help, we need to get them to the help that they need," says Kaufer.
"If somebody hits rock bottom and they need help, we need to be able to get somebody in to start getting help. And that emergency detox and stabilization units will help to move that forward so that people are getting the help that they need immediately," he adds.
Kaufer's bill gives priority to hospitals to get the changes approved by the state, but doesn't provide any financial incentives.
He also is proposing an update to educational materials for students, and wants to require insurers to prove they're covering addiction treatment services.
Drug counselors would also be eligible for student loan forgiveness.
The package of bills failed last session, but Kaufer says he thinks there's more support this time.
Published in PA Policy