Bipartisan opioid response bill passes through PA House with ease

14 June 2024- Bipartisan legislation crafted by Reps. Jim Gregory (R-Blair) and Joe Hohenstein (D-Philadelphia) cleared a significant hurdle today in the quest to expand and improve substance use recovery support services in Pennsylvania.

The significant language of the pair’s bill was amended into House Bill 1783, which passed the House on a 187-14 vote. The amended bill addresses both informational posters about opioid overdoses as well as the Lifetime Recovery from Substance Use Grant Program envisioned by Gregory and Hohenstein.

The new grant program would be administered by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Available funding could include lawsuit settlement dollars connected to the Pennsylvania Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust and state or federal funding as determined by the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s budget process.

“Without my own recovery journey, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have. I quite literally would not be here today,” Gregory said. “My intention is to make treatment accessible without barriers for others experiencing the devastating effects of substance use disorder. It is important to ensure treatment, particularly peer recovery support, continues for extended periods of time.”

The Pennsylvania Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust was established as part of settlements with several pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers.

“Recovery professionals across Pennsylvania ask us regularly to ensure they have every tool available to them. This grant program would aid them as they, in turn, help our friends and neighbors when they are most vulnerable,” Hohenstein said, saying the opioid crisis affects every community in the state.

Gregory and Hohenstein said they are pleased today’s vote reflects the importance of cooperation and bipartisanship.

House Bill 1783 was sent to the Senate for its consideration.