PA department head addresses Rx drug abuse

Written by Matt Paul and Radio Pennsylvania | Mar 1, 2014 1:18 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs reports the prescription drug and heroin abuse problems are worsening.

Secretary Gary Tennis told the state House and Senate budget panels that drug overdoses have overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death, both nationally and in Pennsylvania.

"We are co-chairing a group that just started in December, of leading pain management doctors, professionals in the area -- from Penn, Geisinger, Jefferson, University of Pittsburgh -- to identify what are the best and safest pain management practices, specifically with regard to the prescribing of opioids, because there are other ways to manage pain other than opioids," he says.

Tennis also backs a prescription drug monitoring bill designed to curb addiction. The House bill passed easily last fall, despite the privacy concerns being raised by the ACLU.

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