PDFNJ Applauds Governor’s Prevention Plan in State of State Address


For Immediate Release

Angela Conover, 201-916-1030, conover@drugfreenj.org

MILLBURN --- The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey applauds Governor Chris Christie for his announcement today during the 2017 State of the State address, highlighting the fact that the majority of heroin addicts first became addicted through the use of prescription opioids and four out of every five new heroin users got started by misusing prescription painkillers.

Christie committed to direct Attorney General Porrino to use emergency rule-making and other regulatory reform to limit the supply of opioid-based pain medications that physicians, dentists and other licensed health care providers prescribe to patients presenting with acute pain. According to the Governor’s address, in New Jersey, authorized health care providers can write initial prescriptions for opioid painkillers that provide up to a 30-day supply. 

Christie stated, “This is dangerous, ill-advised and absolutely unnecessary. We know addiction to opioids can occur within days, we must work against potential addiction – and overdose -- by limiting supply to five days that can be obtained at the outset of treatment. Prescribers would be required to consult the patient, assess their need and only then provide further authorization for additional quantities.”

“The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey strongly supports the Governor’s comprehensive plan of action to prevent dependency from a prescribed opiate, through regulation, education and the expansion of treatment. This plan will have a monumental impact on reversing the opioid abuse epidemic impacting New Jersey,” said Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

According to the CDC, in 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills. Opioid prescriptions per capita increased 7.3 percent from 2007 to 2012, with opioid prescribing rates increasing more for family practice, general practice, and internal medicine compared with other specialties.

In his address, Governor Christie stated “a blanket 30-day opiate prescription window is excessive, and the ability of prescribers to order a month’s worth of powerful, opiate-based pain medications is contributing to the drug crisis in a significant way.  Limiting the supply of opioid-based pain medication is just one step to prevent addiction before it starts.”

Safer prescribing and patient education are crucial prevention measures. PDFNJ has supported S2156/A3424 to require prescribers to discuss addiction risk associated with certain drugs and possible alternatives prior to issuing a prescription to minor patient. The bill passed both the Senate and Assembly with wide-ranging bipartisan and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

A 2016 PDFNJ study, found that nearly one in three parents of New Jersey middle school students do not believe there is a link between pain killers prescribed for things like sports injuries and wisdom tooth removal and the rising use of heroin in New Jersey. The study also found that less than 50 percent of parents of New Jersey Middle School students feel they are knowledgeable about heroin.