For Immediate Release: Contact: Rob Horowitz
November 18, 2015 401-595-5026
PREVENT OPIATE ABUSE URGES ADOPTION OF LEGISLATION REQUIRING PRESCRIBERS TO WARN PARENTS OF ADDICTION RISKS BEFORE PRESCRIBING OPIATES
CALLS ON NJ STATE LEGISLATURE TO PASS THE BILL BY THE END OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Prevent Opiate Abuse today urged the speedy adoption of the Parent Notification Bill (A4760) introduced this week by Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana (D-38).
This legislation provides parents with the critical information needed to make an informed decision about whether their teenager should be prescribed an opiate by requiring that Doctors and other prescribers discuss the potential risks of dependency before writing a prescription as well as where appropriate discuss potential alternative treatments. When parents make a decision to go forward with an opiate prescription, this legislation provides the added benefit of alerting them to be on the look out for any signs of dependence developing.
Prevent Opiate Abuse leaders pointed to the fact that while addiction to opiate-based prescription painkillers and their illegal street cousin, heroin has spread to all demographic and age groups, teenagers are particularly at risk.
The teenage years are a “critical window of vulnerability for substance abuse disorders,” according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “because the brain is still developing and still malleable.” The parts of the brain that are attracted to drug use mature before the parts of the brain that are responsible for making sound, non-impulsive decisions. High school students who use prescription opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin and other pain relievers are 33 percent more likely to abuse the drug by the age of 23, according to a recent University of Michigan Study.
Elaine Pozycki, Co-Chair of Prevent Opiate Abuse and Chair of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said, “We must give parents the tools to protect their children from this epidemic. That is exactly what this legislation does and why it needs to speedily become law.”
Assemblyman Lagana said, “The epidemic of opiate addiction poses a big threat to our youth. This is why I am proud to sponsor this legislation and will do everything I can to make sure we stop addiction before it begins.”
Angelo Valente, Executive Director of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said that “if parents must give permission before their child can go on a field trip to the Zoo, they sure should be asked for their sign-off, before their child is prescribed an opiate.”
New Jersey families who have been impacted by opiate addiction will gather at a breakfast meeting hosted by Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Prevent Opiate Abuse at the Marriott Teaneck at Glenpointe on this Friday,November 20th. The keynote speaker at the breakfast will be Andrew Kolodny, M.D, co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and Chief Medical Officer at Phoenix House, who will discuss how opiate use impacts the developing brain, particularly of children.
A more expansive Patient Notification bill (S2366), put forward by Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and Senator Joe Vitale (D-19), which required a conversation with adult patients as well, passed the State Senate overwhelmingly at the end of 2014. It has yet to receive a Committee hearing in the Assembly Health Committee, Chaired by Herb Conaway (D-7).Noting they were confident of its passage by an overwhelming majority in both Houses, Prevent Opiate Abuse called on Conaway to post this more targeted version of the legislation for a Committee vote before the session ended.
Prevent Opiate Abuse is dedicated to significantly reducing the abuse of prescription opiate-based painkillers in New Jersey through advancing initiatives, both governmental and non-governmental, that are effective.