HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania opioid epidemic was a topic of discussion in Harrisburg, Tuesday morning. Chairman of the House Human Service Committee, State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, brought House Bill 2200 up for a vote, which passed unanimously.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Ortitay, is aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic with a focus on centralizing current efforts and the information gathered thus far.
In a brief explanation of the bill, Ortitay said, “What we’re trying to do is get everyone together to share information and really compile what everyone is doing.” This attempt to streamline information sharing, is the third element of the bill’s three pronged approach, as explained by Ortitay this morning.
The first is to centralize all litigation against opioid manufacturers, a measure which Ortitay says will help “hold manufacturers accountable.” The second element, will authorize a process for declaring a public health emergency instead of a disaster declaration in which the state currently relies on.
Another piece of the bill addresses the addiction treatment needs for mothers, pregnant woman, and their dependent children. The bill states the need for “staff training and referral mechanisms.”
Rep. DiGirolamo is impressed with the bill and is excited to see it move forward. He congratulated Ortitay saying, “I know you’ve worked hard for a number of months to put this together and I think it’s a great bill.” Other members of the Committee only offered positive feedback.
The bill will now move onto the Rules Committee for a second approval process.
WBCB’s Brianna Williams contributed to this post.