Chris Christie Expands Prescription Drug Monitoring Program To New York

By Dorri Olds 04/29/16

Christie considers the monitoring program to be one of the best tools in the fight against opiate abuse and doctor shopping.

Chris Christie Brings The Fight To End Opioid Addiction To New York
Photo viaChristopher Halloran /

On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center about New York joining forces with New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP).

“[There are] many pathways to addiction and dealing with its causes,” Christie said. “But we know prescription drug abuse is a common one that we have to wrap our arms around as government leaders and as medical professionals.”

He credits NJPMP as one of the best tools in the fight against the diversion of prescription drugs. Christie defines the program as “an innovative data-sharing partnership between the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and our state’s prescribers and pharmacists.”

He refers to it as “a vital resource that keeps detailed information on every prescription filled in New Jersey for medications classified as CDS [Controlled Dangerous Substances], including potentially addictive opiate painkillers.”

The program aims to keep addicts and dealers from “doctor shopping” in an attempt to get their hands on multiple opioid prescriptions. Since September 2011, the program’s database has captured information on more than 59 million written prescriptions.

“Through the work of our Division of Consumer Affairs under the direction of Steve Lee,” Christie said, “there has been an unprecedented expansion that New Jersey has led in providing access to the entire community of our physicians and other licensed health care practitioners.”

The Fix reached out to Lee for comment. He told us in just 18 days, there have been 16,000 requests for information between the two states. “That’s a big deal,” Lee said. “It means that doctors are looking for this information and trying to use it in making determinations on how to treat their patients. Our hope is to continue to develop the program to help deal with the problem [of opioid addiction] on multiple fronts.”

Lee explained that it is both a medical and law enforcement tool. “It can make a tremendous difference in the fight against opiate abuse because we’re not only involving police officers, agents, prosecutors; we are also involving doctors in order to help their decision-making [when treating] patients.”

According to Lee, the program is user-friendly. He said, “We’ve streamlined the process for registration. Doctors can go through a very simple tutorial which will show them exactly how to use the program. We have made versions of the PMP available for tablets and smart phones, on both Android and Apple platforms. It’s easy to stay logged in on those devices and there’s no need to ever print anything out.”

As of last week, more than 96% of New Jersey’s physicians are registered. Since its inception, more than six million user requests have been conducted through the NJPMP.

Check out the Gov. Christie's press conference here:

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.