Special Edition - State Senator Joe Vitale Voices Support for National Opioid Legislation

This past week, New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale wrote an editorial in support of the Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act recently introduced in Congress. If passed, this act would create a grant program to incentivize states to require prescribers to discuss the addictive qualities of the drugs with patients and inform them of alternative treatment options before prescribing them for acute pain.

Senator Vitale has been a legislative leader in New Jersey’s fight against the opioid epidemic. He authored and played a key role in the passage of the state’s Patient Notification Act in 2017, which required prescribers to discuss with patients the addictive qualities of opioids and possible alternatives that exist to treat pain prior to prescribing an opioid. That law has served as a model for similar laws passed by 18 other states, as well as the Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey commissioned a study that concluded the Patient Notification Act has had a profound impact on the state's fight against the opioid epidemic.  It found that prior to the enactment of the law only 18 percent of the participants warned patients about the risk of opioid addiction when prescribing opioids. Following the law's passage, 95 percent routinely warned patients about the risk of addiction.

Opioid addiction and overdose deaths appear to have increased in the past year, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act will help provide patients the knowledge to make informed decisions about what treatment option is right for them. Its goal is to prevent opioid addiction before it even gets started and to hopefully save lives. 

Prevent Opioid Abuse has created a simple way for you to show support by asking your Congressional representative to co-sponsor the bill. Click here to easily enter your name and address for a letter to automatically be sent to your local Congressperson. I hope you will join us in supporting the Opioid Patients’ Right to Know Act..

Stay well.

All the best, 
Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ