Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls for Action to Accelerate the Positive Downward Trend in Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

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Rob Horowitz
rhorowitz99@yahoo.com,
401-595-5026

Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls for Action to Accelerate the Positive Downward Trend in Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions

“It is up to Every State in the Nation to Act”

Responding to a recent study showing a 9% nationwide decline in the number of opioid-based pain reliever prescriptions filled by pharmacies last year, Prevent Opioid Abuse, a national organization working to educate patients and parents about the risks of opioid-based painkillers and the available non-opioid alternatives, today called on every state in the nation to arm its’ residents with the real-time information required to dramatically speed up this positive trend. The organization pointed out that even with this welcome decline, about 200 million opioid prescriptions were written last year with millions of people taking these highly addictive medications for the first time.

Prevent Opioid Abuse urged all states to follow the lead of New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada and Maryland, and adopt legislation giving patients and parents the information they need to prevent opioid addiction at the time when they most need it – when an opioid painkiller is about to be prescribed.

The legislation requires prescribers to inform all patients, and parents of minors , about the risk of addiction before an opioid is prescribed and when appropriate, discuss the availability of non-opioid alternative pain relief treatments. This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of addiction and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief. Maryland became the most recent state to adopt this legislation with Governor Larry Hogan signing it into law on April 24, 2018.

“While it is good to see this positive downward trend, we have a long way to go before we truly accomplish curbing the opioid epidemic,” said Elaine Pozycki, Founder of Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring a conversation between doctors and patients and parents before an opioid is prescribed that includes a discussion of non-opioid pain relief alternatives will speed the decline in the number of opioid prescriptions written.”

Pozycki added, “All patients and parents of patients have the right to know that the medicine they are being prescribed can lead to dependency and addiction. They should also be made aware that there are non-opioid alternatives available that will work for all but the most extreme pain.”

Unfortunately, doctors rarely discuss the addiction potential of opioids before prescribing them,” said Andrew Kolodny, MD, Co-Founder of Physicians for Responsible Prescribing and a Senior Adviser to Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring this conversation will not only result in better- informed parents, patients and prescribers, it will save lives and spare many families from the devastating impact of opioid addiction.”

The over-prescribing of opioid-based pain relievers, such as Oxycodone and Vicodin, is the primary cause of today’s epidemic of opioid addiction, both to opioid-based painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin. Two hundred million prescriptions for opioid-based painkillers are written annually in the United States, and Americans take more than 80 percent of the opioid-based painkillers used globally, despite representing just 5 percent of the world’s population.

The results of this overprescribing can be seen in every state of the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, more than 42,000 people died from overdoses from opioids in the United States in 2016, exceeding the number of people that died from breast cancer

“The National Opioid Commission has made the proposed requirement for a conversation between prescriber and patient before an opioid is prescribed one of its major national recommendations.


Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls on House of Delegates to Pass HB 653 Arming Patients and Parents with the Information Needed to Prevent Opioid Addiction Say ‘Patients and Parents Have the Right to Know’

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For Immediate Release:

MEDIA CONTACT:

Rob Horowitz

rhorowitz99@yahoo.com,

401-595-5026

Prevent Opioid Abuse Calls on House of Delegates to Pass HB 653 Arming Patients and Parents with the Information Needed to Prevent Opioid Addiction

Say ‘Patients and Parents Have the Right to Know’

Annapolis, MD – Prevent Opioid Abuse, a national organization working to educate patients and parents about the risks of opioid-based painkillers and the availability of non-opioid alternatives, urged speedy adoption of HB 653. The legislation is being heard in the Health & Government Operations Committee today.

Sponsored by Delegate Karen Lewis Young, (D-3A), the legislation would require prescribers to inform patients, and parents of minor children, about the risk of addiction before an opioid is prescribed and when appropriate, discuss the availability of non-opioid alternative pain relief treatments. This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of addiction and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief.

Prevent Opioid Abuse Founder Elaine Pozycki said, “This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of addiction and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief. People have the right to know this lifesaving information in real time. I urge its speedy passage.”

“Unfortunately, doctors rarely discuss the addiction potential of opioids before prescribing them,” said Andrew Kolodny, MD, Co-Founder of Physicians for Responsible Prescribing and a Senior Adviser to Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring this conversation will not only result in better informed parents, patients and prescribers, it will save lives and spare many families from the devastating impact of opioid addiction.”

“Prescribers are the gatekeepers in promoting responsible use. Therefore, it is critical that they play a role in minimizing the rate of addiction,” said, Delegate Lewis Young. “Approximately 85% of those who have an opioid addiction were originally introduced through a medical prescription.”.

Lewis Young added, “Research has demonstrated that better information can be effective in ensuring that patients understand the risks associated with opioid medications and improving communication between providers and their patients. That is what my legislation will promote.”

The over-prescribing of opioid-based pain relievers, such as Oxycodone and Vicodin, is the primary cause of today’s epidemic of opioid addiction, both to opioid-based painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin. More than 200 million prescriptions for opioid-based painkillers are written annually in the United States, and Americans take more than 80 percent of the opioid-based painkillers used globally, despite representing just 5 percent of the world’s population.

The results of this overprescribing can be seen right here in Maryland. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, more than 2,000 people died from drug overdoses in Maryland in 2017, making it the state with the 7th highest overdose rate in the nation. Nationally, overdoses of prescription painkillers alone have increased by 500% over the past 17 years, resulting in more than 200,000 deaths in that time period, the CDC reports.

HB 653 is based on similar laws that have been adopted by New Jersey, Rhode Island and Nevada. The National Opioid Commission has made the proposed requirement for a conversation between prescriber and patient before an opioid is prescribed one of its major national recommendations.

The legislation’s co-sponsors, include Delegates Angel, Barron, Cullison, Fraser–Hidalgo, Gibson, Kelly, Lafferty, Mautz, McMillan, Metzgar, Morales, Platt, Robinson, Sample–Hughes, Tarlau, Turner, and Vogt. A companion bill, SB 522 ,was heard by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee last week.

 


Prevent Opioid Abuse Applauds Introduction of Legislation Giving Patients and Parents the Information They Need to Prevent Opioid Addiction

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For Immediate Release:

MEDIA CONTACT:
Rob Horowitz
rhorowitz99@yahoo.com,
401-595- 5026

Prevent Opioid Abuse Applauds Introduction of Legislation Giving Patients and Parents the Information They Need to Prevent Opioid Addiction

Calls on Maryland General Assembly to Pass SB 522/HB 653

Annapolis, MD – Prevent Opioid Abuse, a national organization working to educate patients and
parents about the risks of opioid-based painkillers and the availability of non-opioid alternatives,
applauded today’s introduction of SB 522.

Sponsored by Senator Katherine Klausmeier (D-8), the legislation would require prescribers to
inform patients, and parents of minor children, about the risk of addiction before an opioid is
prescribed and when appropriate, discuss the availability of non-opioid alternative pain relief
treatments. This common-sense requirement enables patients and parents to recognize signs of
addiction and alerts them to less risky alternative methods of pain relief.

“Requiring a conversation between doctors and patients and parents before an opioid is
prescribed is a simple, but extremely effective measure that will result in saving lives,” said
Prevent Opioid Abuse Founder Elaine Pozycki.

The over-prescribing of opioid-based pain relievers, such as Oxycodone and Vicodin, is the
primary cause of today’s epidemic of opioid addiction, both to opioid-based painkillers and their
illegal street cousin, heroin.  More than 200 million prescriptions for opioid-based painkillers are
written annually in the United States, and Americans take more than 80 percent of the opioid-
based painkillers used globally, despite representing just 5 percent of the world’s population.

The results of this overprescribing can be seen right here in Maryland. According to the Centers
for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, more than 2,000 people died from drug overdoses in
Maryland in 2017, making it the state with the 7 th highest overdose rate in the nation. Nationally,
overdoses of prescription painkillers alone have increased by 500% over the past 17 years,
resulting in more than 200,000 deaths in that time period, the CDC reports.

“All Maryland patients and parents of patients have the right to know that the medicine they are
being prescribed can lead to dependency and addiction. They should also be made aware that
there are opioid-free alternatives that are available in many situations,” Sen. Klausmeier said.
“My legislation ensures that this life-saving information is provided at the time it matters most
— when an opioid-pain reliever is about to be prescribed. To ensure this essential conversation
between patient and prescriber occurs, I will work for this bill’s speedy passage into law.”
SB 522 is based on similar laws that have been adopted by New Jersey, Rhode Island and
Nevada. The National Opioid Commission has made the proposed requirement for a
conversation between prescriber and patient before an opioid is prescribed one of its major
national recommendations.

SB 522 will be heard by the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee
tomorrow, February 15 at 1:00 PM ET. Its co-sponsors, include Senators DeGrange, Middleton,
Simonaire, Smith, Young, and Zucker.  A companion bill, HB 653, sponsored by Delegate Karen
Young (D-3A) has been introduced and will be heard by the Health & Government Operations
Committee on Feb. 21.

“Unfortunately, doctors rarely discuss the addiction potential of opioids before prescribing
them,” said Andrew Kolodny, MD, Co-Founder of Physicians for Responsible Prescribing and a
Senior Adviser to Prevent Opioid Abuse. “Requiring this conversation will not only result in
better informed parents, patients and prescribers, it will save lives and spare many families from
the devastating impact of opioid addiction.”


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.


PREVENT OPIATE ABUSE URGES ADOPTION OF LEGISLATION REQUIRING PRESCRIBERS TO WARN PARENTS OF ADDICTION RISKS BEFORE PRESCRIBING OPIATES

MEDIA RELEASE

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

PREVENT OPIATE ABUSE URGES ADOPTION OF LEGISLATION REQUIRING PRESCRIBERS TO WARN PARENTS OF ADDICTION RISKS BEFORE PRESCRIBING OPIATES

CALLS ON NJ STATE LEGISLATURE TO PASS THE BILL BY THE END OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts : Dyana Koelsch DyanaK@dk-comm.com Hannah Scansaroli, AMCC, hannah@drugfreenj.org
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: http://www.americanmedicinechest.com/

“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.

About:

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.


OP-ED: PREVENT OPIATE ADDICTION AT THE SOURCE THROUGH EDUCATING PATIENTS

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.