Veterans Affairs a Leader in Addressing Opioid Epidemic

In last week’s blog, I focused on a questionable decision by the Food and Drug Administration to approve a new and extremely powerful opioid.

This week, I’d like to turn my attention to a federal agency that has taken many positive steps to fight the opioid epidemic.

In 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs released new guidelines on opioid prescribing, which included a recommendation for prescribers to seek alternatives to opioid therapy for chronic pain and, in cases when opioids are deemed necessary, to prescribe them for a short duration at the lowest dose possible and to have discussions of risks and benefits of opioids and alternative therapies with patients.

These guidelines are similar to the requirements in New Jersey’s Patient Notification Act, a law passed last year that has been replicated in six other states throughout the country. The VA is helping to put these important prescribing principles in place to help better care for men and women who served this nation proudly.

On that note, I would like to thank all veterans for their service and wish them a belated happy Veterans Day.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’d also like to remind everyone that art submissions for the 2018-19 Fourth Grade Folder Contest are due December 8. Fourth graders from throughout the state are encouraged to create designs with the theme “Fun Things to Do Instead of Doing Drugs.”

Finalists will be selected early next year and invited to an award ceremony, at which two students will have their artwork chosen to appear on the following year’s folders, which will be distributed to schools throughout the state.

Finally, I’d like to thank the New Jersey Ad Club for inducting me into the Advertising Hall of Fame of New Jersey last week. It was an honor to stand alongside a group of innovative pioneers who have made their mark on New Jersey. I am grateful for everyone who helped me receive this award, from my family to the PDNFJ board and staff to the partners throughout the state and country who have helped spread important substance use prevention messages.

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