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House leaders seek special session to fight opioid crisis

Posted 8/23/16

The opioid addiction crisis is a problem that has no geographic, religious, racial, socio-economic or partisan boundaries. 

It has claimed thousands of lives statewide in the last few years, including many lives of our friends and loved …

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House leaders seek special session to fight opioid crisis

Posted

The opioid addiction crisis is a problem that has no geographic, religious, racial, socio-economic or partisan boundaries. 

It has claimed thousands of lives statewide in the last few years, including many lives of our friends and loved ones in the 106th District. Opioid and heroin addiction destroys families, finances and lives at a rate that is truly heartbreaking.  

In an effort to continue proactively and effectively combatting the crisis, House leaders encouraged Gov. Tom Wolf to call a special session of the General Assembly. I joined leaders and a majority of my House colleagues at this important bipartisan event.

This call followed House passage of five measures recommended by the House Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation.

That legislative package, now with the Senate, addresses opioid addiction by improving insurance coverage of abuse-deterrent opioids; setting a limit on opioid prescriptions in emergency rooms; requiring prescribers and dispensers to undergo continuing education in pain management, addiction and prescribing practices; mandating that publicly funded recovery houses have the opioid overdose antidote on hand; and directing the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to find ways to increase access to addiction treatment through health plans.

Last session, two new laws were enacted to prevent drug addiction, encourage others to call for help in the event of a drug or alcohol emergency and help reverse opioid-based overdoses.

Increase school bus safety 

As children head back to the classrooms for the start of the new school year, I would like to provide parents and students with a list of important school bus safety tips to remember when traveling to and from school this fall.

Please take a moment to review the following safety tips, offered by PennDOT, to help ensure children arrive to and from school safely each day: 

• Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.

• When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the road to wait for the bus. 

• Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.

• Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you. 

• Be aware — cross with care! Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.

• When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put head, arms or hands out the window.

• Talk quietly; do not distract the school bus driver. 

• Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.

• Never cross the street behind the school bus. 

• If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus. 

• Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into a car with a stranger. 

Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Code states that drivers who approach a school bus with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended must stop at least 10 feet away from the bus whether the driver is behind the bus or coming toward the bus on the same road or approaching an intersection at which the school bus is stopped. 

Drivers must remain stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the stop arm has been withdrawn and the children have reached a safe place. 

Failure to stop for a school bus with a flashing red light and extended stop arm can result in a 60-day driver’s license suspension, five points on an individual’s driving record and a fine.

For more school bus safety resources, visit the PA At Your Service section of RepPayne.com.

John D. Payne is a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives whose 106th District includes Middletown. Email him at jpayne106@pahousegop.com. His Capitol office telephone number is 717-787-2684.