By: Bethany Winkel
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New Jersey Working to End Prescription Drug Abuse with Help of Drug Database
The million dollar question right now is how to curb the prescription drug abuse problem in America. While different techniques are being investigated and put into place, some are more effective than others. One way states across the country are combating the problem is the use of prescription drug databases, and New Jersey is working hard not to fall behind the rest of the country. With the creation of a database in New Jersey a few years ago, plans are now in place to finally make the program more effective.
Mandatory Checking of Prescription Database
A new 21-bill package that is heading to the Governor’s desk includes a bill that would require doctors and prescribers to check the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) when prescribing dangerous drugs. The monitoring program is a database of all prescriptions issued in the state. Up until now, checking the database has been optional, which has been ineffective in finding patients that doctor shop to get more opiate medications.
Similar laws are already in place in 22 other states. The New Jersey bill is supported by law enforcement and the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, as well as addiction treatment and prevention advocates.
Debate Over the Bill
Others are not so certain the prescription monitoring program is the way to end prescription drug abuse, and they say it will come at a cost to doctors and pharmacists. A representative of the Medical Society of New Jersey is uncertain about the extra work that would be required of doctors that have to check the database each time they prescribe one of these medications.
Advocates of the new bill state that the prescription drug epidemic is such a problem in our country that drastic steps need to be taken to put an end to it. Every day, 40 Americans die from an overdose caused by prescription painkiller abuse, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdoses of opioid prescription drugs now kill more people in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined.
It will take the hard work, innovation, and dedication of many people to make a dent in the opiate addiction problem. A combination of programs will be necessary to find and treat those that need addiction help, as well as prevent new people from getting caught up in this type of drug abuse.