MEASURE WOULD DECREASE MISUSE OF PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS, WHICH HAVE BECOME LEADING CAUSE OF OVERDOSE FATALITIES
The Assembly Health committee approved today a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini aimed at stopping the growing epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse.
“Abuse of prescription painkillers is a real crisis,” Angelini, R-Monmouth, said. “Overdoses from prescription painkiller opioids have tripled over the past decade and now kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined.”
Angelini was referring to a report published this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studying overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers. According to the study, 36,450 people died in the United States because of overdose. Of those, 20,044 were related to prescription drugs and 73.8 percent of those were attributed to opioid pain relievers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl.
Angelini’s bill, A-4041, which had bipartisan support from the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee today, would encourage drug manufactures to produce opioids that could not be used inappropriately and make it more difficult for pharmacists to substitute a drug that could be crushed or manipulated by abusers.
“Drug manufactures have the capacity to deter abuse of prescription opioids, which can be legitimately used to treat chronic pain,” Angelini said. “With so many young people abusing prescription drugs, it’s imperative that sure prescription pain killers are used only for their intended purpose.”
Angelini, who is executive director of a nonprofit dedicated to keeping youth healthy, safe and drug free, has led legislative efforts like this to keep New Jersey safe from drug abuse.