Pa. House, Senate diverge on approach to escalating prescription drug abuse

    Pennsylvania lawmakers, health care professionals, and Gov. Tom Corbett agree prescription drug abuse in the commonwealth is reaching epidemic levels.But the GOP-controlled state House and Senate have differing visions as far as how to respond.

    The state Senate passed a bill last week to expand a database that monitors who’s writing, filling, and receiving prescription drugs.

    The variety of drugs monitored would grow under the plan – and law enforcement would have more access to the database, requiring only a court order, not a search warrant, for records pertaining to all but the most dangerous drugs.

    Sponsoring Sen. Pat Vance, acknowledges the pushback from civil libertarians.

    “We just think we have the right balance between law enforcement access and privacy as well,” said Vance, R-Cumberland.

    The House shot down similar language last year, opting for a bill that would require law enforcement to have a search warrant before combing the database.

    The governor has said he supports the Senate’s proposal.

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