HARRISBURG – State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) today introduced legislation requiring counseling for every patient receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for addiction, such as Vivitrol, Suboxone and Methadone.
“Providing counseling in conjunction with MAT is imperative for sustained, long-term recovery,” Benninghoff said. “Simply replacing one drug with another does not treat the ‘whole person,’ nor does it break the cycle of drug abuse or change patterns of risky behavior.”
As House Policy Committee Chairman, Benninghoff held nearly a dozen statewide hearings on Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic. Testimony at those hearings was indisputably unified on the importance of giving patients access to a complete continuum of care through medication and counseling, and in doing so, ending the outdated and ineffective “cash-for-prescription” and “prescription-only” mentalities for treating addiction.
“If we want those in treatment to have a full recovery, we must provide them with more than medication. We must also provide them with the tools necessary to rebuild their mental and emotional well-being, establish healthy relationships and maintain progress in recovery,” Benninghoff said.
Specifically, Benninghoff’s legislation, House Bill 2130 directs the departments of Health, Human Services and Drug and Alcohol Programs to work together to establish guidelines for the use of MAT of all kinds, of which counseling must be a component. It also outlines penalties for prescribers that do not verify their patients are receiving the required counseling before writing or filling prescriptions.
Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Morgan Wagner