Public hearing held on Readshaw bill allowing involuntary commitment
The House Human Services Committee has held a public hearing on a bill introduced by Rep. Harry Readshaw that would allow for the involuntary commitment of those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction for treatment.
“I am gratified the committee held this hearing, as drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious problem in the state and across the country,” Rep. Readshaw said. “To provide an example, 49 people were killed in the recent Orlando tragedy, but on the same day, over 200 people overdosed in the United States.
“Pennsylvania families are on the front lines of the opiate epidemic in our state, and I believe this bill will help them intercede in order to save a life.”
During the hearing, David Freed of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association said the association supported the bill. Other hearing testifiers included state Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis, Brentwood Borough Mayor Dennis H. Troy, Health Secretary Rachel Levine and Deb Beck, president of Drug and Alcohol Services Providers Organization of Pennsylvania.
Under the bill (H.B. 1692), an individual with drug and alcohol abuse would have to be in imminent danger or a threat of imminent danger to his or her self, family or others and be able to benefit from treatment in order to be involuntarily committed for treatment.
This legislation is similar to existing laws in Ohio, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky.
Rep. Readshaw said he introduced this legislation at the request of a friend who recently lost his son to a drug overdose.
“I am hopeful that the committee will act on this bill in the near future, so that we can give another resource to families struggling under the specter of alcohol and drug abuse,” he said.