Barrar Joins Other Legislators in Bipartisan Attack on Pennsylvania’s Opioid Epidemic
HARRISBURG – Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) this week joined a bipartisan group of more than 100 legislators to respond with action to the Commonwealth’s growing opioid crises. Recommendations from the House Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation were announced.

A class of drugs derived from or pharmacologically similar to opiates, opioids put users at great risk of addiction. Data suggests that 60 percent of prescription opioid deaths occur in patients with no history of substance abuse and who are only prescribed an opioid by one health care practitioner.

“The opioid epidemic has not spared the residents of the160th District. We have seen far too much of the ugliness and devastation that comes with addiction,” Barrar said. “My colleagues and I have been aggressively battling the opioid problem; we cannot stand idly by as it continues to claim our residents, neighbors and friends.”

The recommendations announced by House leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf include five pieces of legislation passed by the House:
  • House Bill 1737 (Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny)—Would provide for the proper disposal of unused prescriptions. The measure passed the House unanimously May 16.
  • House Resolution 590 (Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Philadelphia)—Would direct the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to establish and administer a task force on access to addiction treatment through health plans.The measure passed the House unanimously May 16.
  • House Bill 1698 (Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon)—Would provide coverage of abuse deterrent opioids. The measure passed the House on June 23.
  • House Bill 1699 (Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe/Pike)—Would set a seven-day limit on the prescription of opioids in emergency departments. The measure passed the House on June 23.
  • House Bill 1805 (Rep. Kurt Masser, R-Northumberland/Columbia/Montour)—Would require prescribers and dispensers to undergo continuing education in pain management, addiction and prescribing practices. The measure passed the House on June 23.
Legislators also asked that Gov. Tom Wolf call a special session of the General Assembly to further work to fight Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis.

Under Article IV, Section 12 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the governor can convene the General Assembly “on extraordinary occasions” by proclamation. When the General Assembly is convened in a special session, its members can only consider legislation on those subjects designated in the governor’s proclamation.

Wolf responded favorably to the call for a special session and encouraged the Legislature to continue their work on this important issue.

The House has also established the PA Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (PA-HOPE) Caucus. This bipartisan group of legislators, chaired by Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) and Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) with the purpose of addressing the growing opioid epidemic, will issue its findings and recommendations in the next few days.

Representative Stephen E. Barrar
160th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206 /

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