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Pennsylvania bill to protect drug rehab patients from relapse moves forward

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Legislation to open a window for drug rehabilitation patients in danger of relapse was unanimously approved this week by the House Human Services Committee.   

State Rep. Mark Longietti, D- Mercer, is one of the bill’s prime sponsors.

The proposed law would require inpatient rehabilitation facilities to notify a patient’s designated emergency contact when the patient leaves the facility against medical advice.

“This bill is designed to save lives,” Longietti said. “I have heard far too many stories of drug rehabilitation patients who backslide and discharge themselves against medical advice. Before their family members are even aware this has happened, their loved one is picked up by their dealer or enabler and suffers a fatal relapse.

Longietti said the bill would mandate that the emergency contact be notified immediately and at the very latest within 12 hours after the patient leaves the facility. There would be exceptions for cases when the patient revoked consent to notify the emergency contact or when the facility knew or had reason to know allegations of domestic violence by the emergency contact.



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