NJ State Senator Lesniak Announces Legislation to Curb New Jersey’s Opiate Abuse Epidemic

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (D-20), today, unveiled his plan to introduce legislation that is geared at reducing the number of New Jersey residents who become dependent on a prescribed opiate, at a press conference at Eva’s Village, Paterson.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid pain relievers that are abused were most often obtained via prescription from physicians.

The Lesniak plan call for a restriction medical expense coverage for opioid drugs unless the prescriber provides documentation of the following actions for safer prescribing:

  • Thorough medical history, a physical examination and medical decision-making plan with special attention to cause of pain.
  • Prescriber has complied with most recent CDC Guidelines of prescribing opioids for chronic pain
  • Explanation to patient of risk and benefits of prescribed medications

“This legislation attacks overprescribing of opioids, the primary cause of opioid addiction which is taking so many lives in -our state,” explained Lesniak. “It is designed to save the thousands who become addicted to prescribed opioids every year.”

“This bill will help prevent opioid addiction and ensure more appropriate treatment of pain. It will help reduce casual and inappropriate opioid prescribing. It will help ensure that alternatives to opioids are carefully considered. And when opioids are necessary, the bill will help ensure that patients are carefully evaluated, adequately informed about opioid risks, and closely monitored,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Executive Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP).

Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids. In New Jersey, 28,332 people were admitted into substance abuse treatment programs with heroin or another opiate listed as the individual’s primary drug, in 2014.

Kolodny explained, “To bring the prescription opioid and heroin crisis to an end, we must prevent new cases of opioid addiction. With passage of this bill, fewer patients treated for pain will become addicted to their prescribed medication. It will also help reduce the glut of opioid pills in people’s medicine chests that pose a hazard to their children. In short, this bill will save lives and bring an urgent public health crisis under control.”

“Awareness and education is the key factor in preventing the abuse of opiates. Everyone must have a role in reversing this epidemic – including, law makers, parents, coaches, educators and yes, even doctors and dentists,” explained Valente.

“On behalf of the many families and young people Prevention Links supports every day as they battle this epidemic, I want to thank Senator Lesniak for once again demonstrating strong leadership in doing the right thing on behalf of those of us without a voice in attacking this epidemic at its root cause,” said Capaci.

Statement from Dr. Andrew Kolodny on Senator Lesniak’s Cautious Opioid Prescribing Act

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by overprescribing of opioids, is pleased to offer its strong support for this important bill. PROP’s members include physicians from diverse fields including Primary Care, Pain Medicine, Addiction Medicine, Public Health, Emergency medicine, and other specialties.

Opioids are essential medicines for easing pain at the end of life and when used on a short-term basis for severe acute pain. But they are also highly addictive and must be prescribed cautiously. Doctors and dentists have been prescribing too aggressively. The sharp increase in opioid prescribing over the past twenty years has led to parallel increases in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. The opioid addiction epidemic has also led to a flood of heroin into New Jersey neighborhoods where it was previously unavailable.

This bill will help prevent opioid addiction and ensure more appropriate treatment of pain. It will help reduce casual and inappropriate opioid prescribing. It will help ensure that alternatives to opioids are carefully considered. And when opioids are necessary, the bill will help ensure that patients are carefully evaluated, adequately informed about opioid risks, and closely monitored.

To bring the prescription opioid and heroin crisis to an end, we must prevent new cases of opioid addiction. With passage of this bill, fewer patients treated for pain will become addicted to their prescribed medication. It will also help reduce the glut of opioid pills in people’s medicine chests that pose a hazard to their children. In short, this bill will save lives and bring an urgent public health crisis under control.

Source: http://drugfreenj.org/news/nj-state-senator-lesniak-announces-legislation-curb-new-jerseys-opiate-abuse-epidemic/