Santora Announces Legislation to Push People to Treatment After Overdose
MEDIA – At a press conference hosted by Rep. James R. Santora (R-Delaware) this morning, a bill was unveiled to fight the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic by further encouraging people to pursue treatment following an overdose.

The bill would amend the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to require a person experiencing a drug overdose to receive a screening and referral for treatment from a certified recovery specialist or other trained medical professional to avoid criminal charges. Santora plans to amend his bill to require both screening and referral to be done prior to being released.

“Act 139 of 2014 – which allows first responders to administer the overdose antidote naloxone – has undeniably been critical in saving lives. However, as anyone whose life has been impacted by addiction knows, people struggle to break free from the cycle,” stated Santora.

Santora was joined by other elected officials, including Reps. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), Alex Charlton (R-Delaware) and Chris Quinn (R-Delaware). Representatives from the Delaware County Police Chiefs Association, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office and the certified recovery specialist community also participated.

“Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to overdose more than once,” Barrar added. “These people need our help, and the final push that gets them to treatment could be the conversation they have with a certified recovery specialist to avoid charges.”

“Although the Good Samaritan Law has recognized the need for treatment as opposed to prosecution for those suffering from addiction, it has, too many times, fallen short of its goal of providing them the help they need to beat this devastating disease. This bill would help ensure that those suffering from addiction have another opportunity to discuss their treatment options in hopes that they pursue recovery,” said Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland.

Drug overdoses have eclipsed all other causes of unintentional injury death in the United States, exceeding the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes and gunshots combined.

“In 2016, there were 4,884 drug-related deaths in the Commonwealth, indicating the severity of the public health crisis that we’re currently facing,” Charlton said. “We are committed to working in partnership with law enforcement, local grassroots groups and all other stakeholders.”

“No economic class, race or gender is immune to the devastation of addiction. This crisis continues to shake the foundation of our families and communities, and it’s time we take another step to fight back,” Quinn said.

Representative James R. Santora
163rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206 /

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