By: Shannon Persad
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New Jersey’s Attorney General Grewal Discusses Ways to Fight Opioid Crisis in NJ
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has been giving talks at several events, discussing ways New Jersey can fight the opioid crisis.
Grewal delivered a keynote at a symposium hosted by Integrity House, which is New Jersey’s largest nonprofit provider of addiction treatment, in collaboration with Seton Hall School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Opioid overdose deaths continue to increase, naloxone administered has increased, yet the prescription rate in New Jersey has gone down. Over 3,000 deaths occurred last year in New Jersey due to overdoses, mostly due to fentanyl. Even though prescriptions has decreased, people have turned to deadly alternatives such as heroin and the most fatal of them all, fentanyl.
The graph from NJCares.gov shows the statistics from 2013 to 2018 (2019 not shown due to ongoing data not yet final.)
Source: NJCares.gov front page
Grewal outlines the next steps New Jersey should take to fight the opioid epidemic, which includes going after pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Grewal’s Solution to the Opioid Epidemic in NJ
Part of Grewal’s strategy is Operation Helping Hand, which recently received $1 million in federal aid. It aims to give those who have been arrested the chance to see specialists about their addiction, making sure they do not continue their addiction after release. He states the data from Operation Helping Hand shows users staying cleaner for longer periods of time.
Grewal mentions states many different entities are coming together rather than one department trying to solve the problem. He states “Ten years ago, you wouldn’t see law enforcement, providers, counselors, and academics coming together, but today that’s the norm.”
Monitor programs have been aggressively taking licenses away from physicians who are suspected of malpractice, providing opioids, which have led to the decrease of opioid prescriptions in NJ. Grewal is still leading the charge in finding the sources for opioids from “street corners to doctors offices and executive suites.”
Lastly, Grewal plans to go after Purdue Pharma, and will not accept a settlement.
Until the overdose deaths start to go down, NJ cannot say it is winning the battle against the opioid crisis. Every year since data has been recorded, starting in 2013 by NJCares.gov, overdose deaths have increased. Naloxone, however, has saved many lives that could have contributed to the death total, which is seen as a positive.
If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction, seek professional help now.