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.



For Immediate Release: Contact: Rob Horowitz
November 18, 2015 401-595-5026



Prevent Opiate Abuse today urged the speedy adoption of the Parent Notification Bill (A4760) introduced this week by Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana (D-38).

This legislation provides parents with the critical information needed to make an informed decision about whether their teenager should be prescribed an opiate by requiring that Doctors and other prescribers discuss the potential risks of dependency before writing a prescription as well as where appropriate discuss potential alternative treatments. When parents make a decision to go forward with an opiate prescription, this legislation provides the added benefit of alerting them to be on the look out for any signs of dependence developing.

Prevent Opiate Abuse leaders pointed to the fact that while addiction to opiate-based prescription painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin has spread to all demographic and age groups, teenagers are particularly at risk.

The teenage years are a “critical window of vulnerability for substance abuse disorders,” according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “because the brain is still developing and still malleable.” The parts of the brain that are attracted to drug use mature before the parts of the brain that are responsible for making sound, non-impulsive decisions. 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.

Elaine Pozycki, Co-Chair of Prevent Opiate Abuse and Chair of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said, “We must give parents the tools to protect their children from this epidemic. That is exactly what this legislation does and why it needs to speedily become law.”

Assemblyman Lagana said, “The epidemic of opiate addiction poses a big threat to our youth. This is why I am proud to sponsor this legislation and will do everything I can to make sure we stop addiction before it begins.”

Angelo Valente, Executive Director of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said that “if parents must give permission before their child can go on a field trip to the Zoo, they sure should be asked for their sign-off, before their child is prescribed an opiate.”

New Jersey families who have been impacted by opiate addiction will gather at a breakfast meeting hosted by Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Prevent Opiate Abuse at the Marriott Teaneck at Glenpointe on this Friday,November 20th. The keynote speaker at the breakfast will be Andrew Kolodny, M.D, co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and Chief Medical Officer at Phoenix House, who will discuss how opiate use impacts the developing brain, particularly of children.

A more expansive Patient Notification bill (S2366), put forward by Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and Senator Joe Vitale (D-19), which required a conversation with adult patients as well, passed the State Senate overwhelmingly at the end of 2014. It has yet to receive a Committee hearing in the Assembly Health Committee, Chaired by Herb Conaway (D-7).Noting they were confident of its passage by an overwhelming majority in both Houses, Prevent Opiate Abuse called on Conaway to post this more targeted version of the legislation for a Committee vote before the session ended.

Prevent Opiate Abuse is dedicated to significantly reducing the abuse of prescription opiate-based painkillers in New Jersey through advancing initiatives, both governmental and non-governmental, that are effective.


Download complete A4760 Parent Notification bill here

18 Rhode Island Communities to Participate in American Medicine Chest Challenge Collection of Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs to Stop Opiate Abuse


Contacts : Dyana Koelsch Hannah Scansaroli, AMCC,
Download Press Release Here. Download locations here.

18 Rhode Island Communities to Participate in American Medicine Chest Challenge Collection of Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs to Stop Opiate Abuse

PROVIDENCE, RI- On November 14, several Rhode Island communities will join hundreds of others across the country in the American Medicine Chest Challenge – a national collection effort to prevent prescription drug abuse.

Coordinated by The American Medicine Chest Challenge in conjunction with Prevent Opiate Abuse RI and police and community representatives, the National Awareness Day is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Rhode Islander’s are encouraged to drop of their used and expired medications at one of eighteen locations throughout the state. Locations can be found here:

“This is a great opportunity for residents of Rhode Island to properly dispose of their prescription drugs,” said Prevent Opiate Abuse RI’s Rob Horowitz. “In Rhode Island, nearly one-in-five 12th graders have used painkillers without a doctor’s prescription, according to RI Kids Count. Over the period of a month, roughly 7 million Americans use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.”

The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows prescription medicines to be the most abused drugs by Americans, other than marijuana and found that 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives. A recent study on drug use by teens by the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) found that one in 9 children are abusing prescription pain relievers to get high.

“Removing unused prescription drugs from your household is something we all can do to combat drug addiction. Our Drug Takeback bin at the Public Safety Complex is open this Saturday and every day of the year to Providence residents,” said Peter Asen, Director of Providence’s Healthy Communities Office. “Please, do you part to combat drug abuse by safely and responsibly disposing of unused prescription drugs.”

“With the American Medicine Chest Challenge we are calling on residents to see their medicine cabinets through new eyes — as an access point for potential misuse and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicine by young people,” said American Medicine Chest Challenge Chief Executive Officer Angelo M. Valente. “This Challenge will raise awareness about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs and reduce the availability of potent drugs that lead kids down a path to addiction.”

Residents are also encouraged to take the Five-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge:

  • Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.
  • Secure your medicine chest.
  • Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at an American Medicine Chest Challenge Disposal site.
  • Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
  • Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. American Medicine Chest Challenge has gained the national support of PhRMA, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and Covanta.


The “American Medicine Chest Challenge” is a community-based public health initiative, with law enforcement partnership, designed to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and provide a nationwide day of disposal — at a collection site or in the home — of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine, held on the second Saturday of November each year in communities across the country.

Prevent Opiate Abuse, originally organized in New Jersey, is dedicated to significantly reducing the abuse of prescription opiate based painkillers through advancing initiatives, both governmental and non-governmental, that are effective and by doing so establishing a model that can be adapted throughout the nation. According to the Center for Disease Control& Prevention, prescription drug abuse and the related problem of heroin addiction has become an epidemic causing nearly 20,000 deaths annually. It is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. We are in it for the long-haul and committed to the all out multi-dimensional effort required to produce results.


Read a recent Op-ed by Elaine and Steve Pozycki in NJ Spotlight:

Over the past two decades, the number of prescriptions for opiate-based painkillers has tripled, while dosages have grown stronger

The prime source for the national explosion of opiate addiction — whether in the form of painkillers such as OxyContin or in the form of illegal street drugs such as heroin — is the dramatic increase in the use of opiate-based prescription drugs. Over the past 20 years, there has been a threefold increase in the number of prescriptions issued for opiate-based painkillers, as well as a major step-up in dosage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions in 2012 alone. Further, it has been well-documented that some people when they can no longer get access to prescription painkillers feed their opiate addiction by turning to heroin.

Read complete Op-ed here.