By: Bethany Winkel
Share This Post
Ways New Jersey is Working to Combat the Opioid Drug Problem
There is much debate over what to do about the opioid drug problem in America today. The federal government has implemented several programs to help with the problem, and each state, including New Jersey, is also putting together initiatives that can make a difference in their own area.
New Jersey has struggled with prescription drug and heroin addiction for the past several years. In April of this year, Governor Christie signed legislation that would improve the state’s ability to fight opioid abuse. “I’m proud of what we’ve done in New Jersey and proud of the work that we continue to do together to help people reclaim their lives. But we cannot become complacent,” said Governor Christie. “Today, we are taking further action to keep our fight against drug abuse and addiction going strong. We’re doing this by continuing successful programs like Project Medicine Drop to get unused prescriptions out of the medicine cabinet and into drop-off bins as well as fortifying our coordinated efforts against the scourge of opioid abuse in an effort to save more lives.”
A prescription drug database is now available in the state that monitors those that are receiving painkillers to ensure they are not getting more than is prescribed. Prevention campaigns are also being promoted at area schools and medical facilities.
This summer a new bill was signed by New Jersey legislation that would bring others into the equation to help. “New Jersey’s heroin and opioid addiction and abuse epidemic is real,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway. “It’s time to involve the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry in this fight. One way we can do this is to ease the access to these abuse-deterrent formulations of narcotics.”
The new law would require insurance companies to cover prescription opioid drugs that are approved by the FDA as abuse-deterrent, so that more of these drugs are circulating instead of ones that can easily be crushed and smoked or injected. “There is an epidemic and if the insurance side of the world isn’t responding to those needs it doesn’t happen because it’s just too expensive on its own,” Benson said. “We understand that medications are expensive and we need to make sure that the marketplace is responding to the needs that are out there in the community.”
Read more about the bill and ways it might help prevent abuse here.