TED Talk on Opioid Withdrawal and New Jersey Legislation

I recently watched a TED talk about a man named Travis Rider’s experience of opioid withdrawal. For those of you who do not know, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) called TED talks. They feature expert speakers who cover various topics, including education, business, science, and technology.

In this particular TED talk, a man named Travis Rider opened up about his addiction and the agony of withdrawal. In his closing remarks he stated, 

“Properly managing prescribed opioids will not by itself solve the crisis—America’s epidemic is far bigger than that—but when a medication is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths a year, reckless management of that medication is indefensible. Helping opioid therapy patients to get off of their medication that they were prescribed may not be a complete solution for our epidemic, but it will clearly constitute progress.”

Travis’ story highlights just how crucial it is for doctors to further educate themselves on safe methods for prescribing opioids. It stresses the importance for prescribers to disclose the addiction potential of opioids and to provide their patients with non-opioid alternatives, if and when they are available.

As of February of 2017, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to require physicians to discuss addictive qualities of opiates prior to prescribing. The new law (A3424/S2156) signed by Governor Chris Christie requires prescribers, both physicians and dentists, to speak to the parents or legal guardians of their patients under the age of 18 prior to prescribing an opioid. The law requires them to inform them of their addictive qualities and make note of their conversation.

The new law also requires that physicians, physician’s assistants, dentists, and optometrists complete one CME credit on topics that include responsible prescribing practices, as well as the risks and signs of opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion. The Partnership for a Drug-Free NJ and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey recently launched a one-hour course that satisfies this CME credit requirement. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the course can visit drugfreenj.org or if you would like to register, click this link.

This law is so important because it guarantees that families are equipped with the knowledge they need to help prevent opiate abuse in their children.

Since 2017, this law has served as a model for 12 states that have passed similar legislation. I am hopeful that it will continue to serve as a model for the rest of the nation in our efforts to put an end to the opioid epidemic.
 

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