New Jersey Takes Steps in Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse through Prescription Drug Monitoring


Contact: Angela Conover, PDFNJ, 201-916-1030

New Jersey Takes Steps in Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse through Prescription Drug Monitoring

MILLBURN -- 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.

“Requiring physicians to consult the (PDMP) gives New Jersey another tool in the fight again prescription drug abuse,” said Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey(PDFNJ) co-chair Elaine Pozycki, adding,  “I 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,” explained, Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of the PDFNJ. He noted, “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%.”

Valente added, “According to a report, released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioid abuse is the strongest risk factor of increased heroin use across the US and among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels, including groups with historically lower rates of heroin use, including women, people with private insurance and higher incomes.”

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

Pozycki noted, 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. She explained that another measure introduced the package, Senate Bill 2366, calls for physicians to have conversations about the potential for dependency on prescribed opioids. “This measure passed the Senate in December 2014 with a vote of 36-1 and is now waiting to be introduced in the Assembly and with the newly strengthened PDMP in place, the passage of a patient notification bill will make significant strides in preventing prescription opioid abuse in our state,” concluded Pozycki.