Maryland lawmakers tackle opioid legislation

Responsible Prescribing is the Key to Curbing Opioid Epidemic

From Thrive Global.

Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States
by Andrew Kolodny, MD

Twenty years ago, opioid overdose deaths in the United States were rare. Today, they are the leading cause of accidental death, surpassing motor vehicle crashes. In 2016, more than 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, a figure that exceeds in one year the total number of Americans killed during the entire Vietnam war.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been clear for several years about the cause of our nation’s opioid addiction epidemic. It has shown that a sharp increase in opioid overdose deaths and addiction paralleled an increase in opioid prescribing. In other words, the CDC is saying the opioid crisis was caused by overprescribing of opioids. The medical community did not start prescribing opioids more aggressively out of malicious intent. For most of us, it was a desire to treat pain more compassionately that led to overprescribing. To bring this public health crisis under control, doctors must prescribe more cautiously.

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Parents have right to know risks of addictive pain killers

Guest Editorial by Elaine Pozycki. From the Herald News, Fall River:

Like so many moms across this country, my son became addicted to opioid pain relievers after they were prescribed to him to treat a sports injury. Had I just been told about the addictive qualities of the medicine Steven was prescribed, I would have known to look for alternatives. I would have known to look for signs of dependency earlier.

Read the complete article here.

New Rhode Island Laws Aimed at Combating Opioid Epidemic

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed three bills into law aimed at combating Rhode Island’s opioid epidemic.

The legislation allows law enforcement access to an electronic database of prescription painkillers without a warrant; requires health care professionals to discuss the risks of addiction with patients when writing opioid prescriptions; and expands the type of pharmaceuticals that can be prescribed using electronic prescriptions, while ensuring patient privacy.

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New Jersey has the tools to curb opiate epidemic

OpEd by Elaine Pozycki:

New Jersey is now on the right path to combat opiate addiction. A recently adopted comprehensive law incorporates most of the major common-sense measures that Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, addiction experts and impact families have long advocated. Taken together, these measures give New Jersey among the strongest – if not the strongest – set of opiate prevention laws of any state in the nation.

Read the complete OpEd here.

AT ISSUE: Is N.J. winning war on heroin? – Editorial by Elaine Pozycki in Asbury Park Press

When we use the term heroin “epidemic,” is that too strong a word? Or do you think that properly describes the scope of the current heroin problem in New Jersey?

There is a national epidemic of opioid addiction to opioid-based prescription painkillers and to heroin, their illegal street cousin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And New Jersey is no exception. It is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and in New Jersey, taking 28,893 lives nationally in 2014, 18,893 from prescription painkillers and 10,574 from heroin. More than 1,250 New Jerseyans died from drug overdoses in 2014. The heroin death rate in New Jersey is three times the national rate.

Read complete editorial here.

LETTER: Delay on drug legislation ‘means more avoidable deaths’

by STEVE and ELAINE POZYCKI in the Bernardsville News

EDITOR: Guidelines recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) take direct aim at the over-prescribing of opiate-based painkillers, urging primary care doctors to try alternatives such as physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications first.

Underlying these strong recommendations to prescribe opiate-based painkillers, such as Oxycodone and Vicadin, sparingly is that the over-prescribing of these highly addictive drugs is the primary cause of our epidemic of addiction, both to these pills and to heroin, their illegal street cousin – an epidemic that has become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and in New Jersey, taking nearly 30,000 lives in 2014.

Read complete letter here.


by Steve and Elaine Pozycki from the New Jersey Spotlight

With opioid overdoses the chief cause of accidental death in New Jersey, the media can’t make these drugs an acceptable part of life

This week, the White House rightly criticized an ad, which aired during the Super Bowl, designed to promote a drug to treat opioid-induced constipation. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other officials blasted the ad, saying that the pharmaceutical companies should be running ads combating addiction, not fueling it. The danger of these kind of ads is that they normalize the use of opioid-based prescription painkillers, the overprescribing of which is the main driver fueling the epidemic of addiction to opiate-based painkillers and heroin.

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POZYCKI: Notify parents before teens are prescribed opiate

From the Asbury Park Press:

“While addiction to opiate-based prescription pain killers and their illegal street cousin heroin is spreading in all demographic and age groups, teenagers are at particular risk. High school students who use prescription opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin and other pain relievers are 33 percent more likely to abuse the drug by the age of 23, according to a recent University of Michigan Study. Further, New Jersey now has the sixth-highest youth overdose rate in the nation.”

Read the whole article here.

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