Senate passes legislation that requires prescribers to discuss opioid risks

STATE HOUSE — The Senate has passed legislation introduced by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) that would require health care professionals to discuss the dangers of opioid addiction before prescribing the medication.

“We’re battling a lethal epidemic that is killing more people a year than motor vehicle crashes,” said Senator Archambault. “More than 52,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2015 — and 63 percent of those deaths involved an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The legislation (2017-S 0493A) would require that a health care professional authorized to issue prescriptions, prior to issuing an initial prescription for an opioid drug, discuss with the patient who is 18 years of age or older or the patient’s parent or guardian if the patient is under 18, specifically the risks of developing a dependence or addiction on the prescription opioid drug and potential of overdose or death, the adverse risks of concurrent use of alcohol or other psychoactive medications.

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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.


Christie Will Advise Trump Panel On Opioid Addiction

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will take on an advisory role to help figure out ways the Trump administration can fight the opioid epidemic.

Christie told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that as chair of a special commission he will “take a look at what we are doing across the entire federal government and across the country to deal with this epidemic.”

Read the complete article here.


Prevent Opiate Abuse Applauds Passage of Comprehensive Legislation to Give NJ The Tools to Fight Opiate Addiction

Prevent Opiate Abuse today applauded the final passage of S3/A3(Vitale/Sweeney/Kean/Prieto/Bramnick/Conaway), saying that this comprehensive legislation puts New Jersey on the right path in the fight to prevent and combat opiate addiction. S3//A3 makes Governor’s Christie’s executive order compelling an initial 5 pill limit permanent law and and mandates all prescribers receive ongoing training in current best prescribing practices as a condition of being allowed to prescribe opiate based painkillers. It requires a conversation between all patients and their doctor about the risks of addiction and, when appropriate, potential alternatives before an opiate is prescribed. condition of being allowed to prescribe opiate based painkillers, among other provisions. This requirement for a conversation before an opiate is prescribed expands to all patients the provisions of a recently adopted law targeted specifically at the parents of children and teenagers.

Elaine Pozycki, Chair of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey applauded the sponsors of the legislation and Governor Christie who worked together on this omnibus legislation. Pozycki said, “With the passage of this comprehensive legislation, New Jersey will now have the tools needed to attack the main source of the epidemic—the over-prescribing of opiate based painkillers.”

Pozycki added, “New Jersey now has among the strongest-if not the strongest–set of opiate prevention laws of any state in the nation.”

She noted that with more than 100,000 New Jersey residents already addicted to prescription opiates or its illegal street cousin, heroin, more than 5,000 overdose deaths in our state in the past decade alone, and the overdose antidote, Narcan, employed more than 20 times a day, this comprehensive set of common sense prevention measures are essential.

S3/A3 passed the Assembly overwhelmingly, by a…. Last week, it passed the State Senate 33 to 0. The Governor is scheduled to sign the bill into law today.


N.J. opioid bills get committee approval, closer to becoming law

TRENTON — Several bills aimed at fighting opioid addiction in New Jersey are one step closer to becoming law.

State Senate and Assembly committees approved legislation Monday on expanding health insurance coverage for addiction treatment, raising public awareness on heroin and opioids, and creating an opioid task force.

Read complete article here.


Christie’s crusade against heroin faces a rocky reality


Advocates, critics react to Christie’s sweeping drug plan

“Anti-drug advocates hailed Gov. Chris Christie’s pledge Tuesday to make New Jersey’s addiction crisis a top job in the final year of his term in office, but there were worries about funding and follow through.

Using soaring rhetoric, heartfelt personal stories of loss and unmistakable zeal, the governor used his State of the State address to outline a series of new initiatives to battle  the opioid epidemic that has devastated New Jersey.”

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Bill Would Require Minors Getting Opioids Be Notified of Addiction Risk

“The state’s opioid addiction toll on young people is staggering. Last year 1,587 people died of overdoses. The Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse reported some 4,200 people under the age of 25 were admitted to substance abuse treatment programs in 2012. And those addicted to prescription painkillers dwarfed the number addicted to heroin, hallucinogens and cocaine combined. Lawmakers are considering requiring doctors and dentists to discuss the dangers and alternatives to opioid-based painkillers before prescribing them to young people. The executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is Angelo Valente.”

Read the complete article 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.