New Jersey just took a big step in helping to prevent prescription drug abuse this week

Governor Chris Christie signed legislation, July 20, 2015, that expands the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP), an online database that tracks the prescription sale of drugs classified as controlled dangerous substances (CDS). The bill, S-1998, expands existing law by requiring that prescribers and pharmacists register for NJPMP access, and requiring that physicians consult the NJPMP. Thank you to Senator Joseph Vitale and Senator Loretta Weinberg, Senator James W. Holzapfel, and Assemblymembers Joseph A. Lagana, Marlene Caride, John F. McKeon, Vincent Mazzeo, and Raj Mukherji the sponsors of  S1998, for their genuine concern and leadership in introducing this bill to help control the diversion of prescription drugs in our state with a strong Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey strongly supports this law because it gives our state another tool in the fight again prescription drug abuse and we applaud the Governor signing into law this measure that will help curb prescription drug abuse and diversion in our state.

The mandate of the NJPMP brings our state in line with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s recommendation that each state “implement prescription drug monitoring programs … to reduce “doctor shopping” and diversion, and enhance PDMPs to make sure they can share data across states and are used by healthcare providers. Research has shown prescription drug monitoring programs are effective when fully utilized, including a study of New York State’s PMP found that in the year following the inception of the program, prescribing of certain opiates to individuals suspected of drug diversion fell by 95%.

In New Jersey, the CDC reports that 62 prescriptions for prescription pain killers were written per 100 residents in 2014, which equates to approximately 5.4 million prescriptions. According to the CDC, opioid pain relievers that are abused were most often obtained via prescription from physicians

Senate Bill 1998, was one of the measures in the 21 bill package introduced by Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vitale to tackle the heroin and prescription drug epidemic that is occurring across the state. Another measure introduced the package, Senate Bill 2366, calls for physicians to have conversations about the potential for dependency on prescribed opioids. Incorporating PMPs into a comprehensive prescription drug diversion and abuse prevention strategy that includes education for healthcare providers, patient notification, raising awareness for the public on prescription drug abuse; consumer‐friendly, environmentally responsible medication‐disposal programs; and law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing pill mills and doctor shopping, will help reduce the consequences of prescription drug abuse in our state.

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