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Letter to the Editor
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Let's consider state House Bill 1694, which proposes a prescription-monitoring program that would alert officials to overprescribing of narcotics by licensed providers. The Pennsylvania Medical Society is working against the bill, arguing that it would violate doctor-patient confidentiality.

Passage of this bill would significantly reduce the amount of prescribed narcotics that hit the streets where our children start their opioid addiction, which leads to illegal drug usage. Institution of this type of monitoring program would reduce the amount of accidental drug overdose deaths; Kentucky has noticed an 80-percent drop in the last five years after institution of such a monitoring program.

I was born and raised in the Greensburg area and am a practicing general surgeon and father of two teenage girls in the Greensburg Salem School District, where I am a board member. This has exposed me to families that have lost beautiful children — children who usually started their addiction with legal prescribed narcotics.

Institution of this monitoring system would lower the amount of narcotics that reach our children, thereby preventing exposure that may lead to addiction. To save a child, readers should contact their legislators and the Pennsylvania Medical Society and insist upon passage of HB 1694 in its entirety. This may hurt a few physicians' egos, but it will save a life.

Rick Payha

The writer practices medicine in Greensburg.

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