91% of NJ Residents Want Information From Doctors About Addictive Qualities of Medications Being Prescribed

If you’ve been following current events in the substance abuse prevention field in New Jersey, (or our Facebook and Twitter accounts) then you are no doubt aware that on Thursday, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, in conjunction with Farleigh Dickinson PublicMind Poll, released a study showing that 91% of New Jersey residents want their doctors to share with them more information about the addictive nature of opioid prescription drugs they are prescribed. Two-thirds of those polled agreed that doctors taking this measure would help prevent potentially deadly abuse of prescription drugs, which can lead to heroin abuse and addiction.

If this seems like common sense to you, then you are not alone. But first, a bit of background.

We’ve discussed on this blog about the comprehensive 21-piece legislation package put forth by Senator Joseph Vitale D - Middlesex. The package addresses many facets of the prescription drug and heroin abuse epidemic that has gripped New Jersey for several years. You can find the full listing of bills within this package here. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has provided expert testimony on behalf of two bills: Senate Bills S-2366, which would require doctors to have conversations with their patients about the addictive nature of opioid drugs before prescribing them, and S-1998, which would make it mandatory for New Jersey doctors to sign up for the New Jersey Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. S-2366 passed through the New Jersey State Senate with little opposition and is currently being debated in the Assembly.

Opponents to this legislation have asserted through this process that any law, including S-2366, that will change the way doctors handle their patients would affect the way they practice medicine is something to be avoided. However, when New Jersey is losing people at an astonishing rate of two people everyday to opioid overdose and many more are suffering from addiction, PDFNJ thought it would be important to hear from those who are on the front lines of this issue: New Jersey’s residents. It is for this reason that PDFNJ partnered with FDU PublicMind to conduct a study to find out they think of the new legislation.

The results are very clear. New Jersey residents want doctors to inform them about the dangers of opiate addiction before they are prescribed. And this isn’t a surprise. Many of the parents who have lost their children to overdose tell us the same thing: they didn’t know that this was a danger and by the time they found out, it was much too late. If patients are educated BEFORE they are prescribed a potentially addictive drug, they can explore safer pain management alternatives or, if taking opiate based drug is the only option available to them, they and their families can be more vigilant in monitoring for the signs and symptoms of addiction. No one is questioning the need for these drugs or their potential lifesaving effects. All we ask is that people are educated before they are prescribed.

Will these measures help save lives in New Jersey? We certainly think so. And so do more than two-thirds of New Jersey residents. In today’s heated political climate, Americans and New Jersey residents alike don’t agree on much, especially when it comes to legislation. But with 91% of those polled in support of this bill, the next steps are clear. It’s time to pass S-2366 through the Assembly. Sometimes the common sense thing to do is also the right thing to do.

For more information on last Thursday’s press conference, read the full press release on our site. Also, you can read the full reports from New Jersey 101.5 and New Jersey Spotlight on their respective sites. Finally, you can view video highlights from Thursday’s conference below.

 

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