HARRISBURG – In his continuing effort to address Pennsylvania’s drug crisis with effective legislation, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) has introduced a proposal that would provide drug addicts with a logical next step for recovery. House Bill 2727
would establish a statewide program to ensure drug overdose survivors receive treatment after they are released from the hospital.
Heffley got the idea for the legislation after a recent visit to Allentown, Lehigh County, where such a program already exists and is working.
“We were so impressed by the Blue Guardian program, which offers life-saving assistance to overdose survivors in Allentown and the surrounding area,” said Heffley. “Police officers, emergency medical services personnel and addiction treatment specialists have joined forces to address the terrible toll the addiction crisis is having in their community.”
Under Heffley’s legislation, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs would work with the Department of Health to establish procedures for placing overdose survivors in a detoxification facility. In addition, an Overdose Recovery Task Force would be created to develop “overdose stabilization and firm handoff centers” across the Commonwealth, and a grant program to fund them.
“Many first responders have told us they are using naloxone to repeatedly save the same individuals. What has been missing is the next step to addiction treatment for them,” Heffley added. “My legislation would forge the link in the continuum of care for people struggling with a substance abuse disorder.”
Heffley noted there is not enough time to act on the legislation during the current House session, which concludes on Nov. 30. However, by announcing the bill now, the groundwork is laid for its consideration early in the 2019-20 session, when Heffley plans to reintroduce his proposal.
Representative Doyle Heffley
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs