Pa. lawmaker wants to enlist attorney general in fight against opioid abuse, drug deaths

    One state lawmaker’s call to investigate the proliferation of prescription drug abuse in Pennsylvania could be the opening salvo in a war on drug companies — or just a blip on the radar in the Legislature.


    State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo says he’s had it with the number of deaths from narcotic drug abuse in Pennsylvania.

    The House GOP’s most outspoken member on issues concerning mental health, disability rights, and health care access says he wants the state attorney general’s office to throw everything it has at the problem of opioid drug availability in Pennsylvania.

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    To that end, though, he’s filed a non-binding resolution — so even if it passes, the attorney general’s office doesn’t have to respond.

    DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, said he’d like an investigation to lead to something like the settlement Pennsylvania received in 1998 after joining 45 other states in a lawsuit against cigarette manufacturers.

    “States and attorneys general from around the country got together and sued the tobacco companies for the problems that tobacco caused in their state and set up a fund and used that fund,” he said.

    The lawmaker says he’d like to fund drug abuse treatment programs in such a scenario.

    His proposal comes days after Gov. Tom Corbett  noted support for a more robust statewide drug monitoring database that would allow doctors and pharmacists to screen patients for substance abuse behavior patterns.

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