Pharmacy Professor Testifies to PA Senate Policy Committee about Opioid Usage
Written by Nicole Carrera
Published on April 9, 2020
On February 12, 2020, the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a policy hearing on Combating and Treating Overdose. Daniel Ventricelli, PharmD, MPH,assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at USciences, testified to the committee on behalf of the Regional Overdose Prevention Coalition (ROPC) about opioid overdose prevention and treatment.
The ROPC is a group of concerned public servants and community leaders from Philadelphia and the surrounding areas who come together for a regional approach to the opioid crisis. Their mission is to eliminate all harmful effects of substance use on individuals, families, and communities in the region.
While representing the ROPC, Dr. Ventricelli spoke about the different medications typically used to treat those suffering from opioid use disorder, specifically methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. While these medications each work in different ways, they all bind to the opioid receptors in the body, just as a prescription opioid would. Dr. Ventricelli goes on to reference studies which have confirmed the success of these medications in relation to other treatment methods.
Dr. Ventricelli also spoke about how access to these medications are not equal across the board. He cites travel required to get medication, inadequate supply of medications, and restriction of medications in residential treatment programs and correctional facilities as obstacles for those seeking treatment.
Dr. Ventricelli and the ROPC are calling for legislation to help implement a “multi-pronged effort” to help those dealing with opioid use disorder. These steps include an increase in accessibility for those seeking medication, expanded use of medication, syringe service programs, and access to supplies such as fentanyl test strips.
“Ultimately”, Ventricelli concludes, “If people are accessing treatment and these variables are eliminated through legislation, through increased awareness, we can prevent overdose deaths in our communities.”