Gov. Christie Signs Historic Bill To Limit Opioid Prescriptions In New Jersey

Gov. Christie Signs Historic Bill To Limit Opioid Prescriptions In New Jersey

By Victoria Kim 02/21/17

The new law features the most restrictive prescription limit of its kind in the country, according to Christie.

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Gov. Chris Christie
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In his continuing quest to address opioid abuse in his state, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed new legislation last Wednesday (Feb. 15) aimed at stemming painkiller abuse and expanding treatment for substance use disorder.

The new law limits initial opioid prescriptions to a five-day supply, but does not apply to cancer or chronic pain patients or people in end-of-life care. Christie says this is the most restrictive prescription limit of its kind in the country.

The new law also requires state-regulated health insurers to cover the first four weeks of inpatient or outpatient treatment for substance use disorder without the need for authorization. According to NorthJersey.com, those who are on insurance plans regulated by the state make up only about 30% of New Jersey residents.

Another aspect of the new law—which Christie signed immediately after it was approved in the Assembly—requires certain medical professionals to brush up on their knowledge and educate patients on the risks of opioid drugs like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

Christie has made it his mission to address opioid abuse in New Jersey, which AP says claimed the lives of nearly 1,600 New Jersey residents in 2015.

In January—about a week after focusing on drug abuse in his State of the State address—the governor signed an executive order declaring opioid abuse a public health crisis. He also established a task force to come up with a coordinated strategy to stem opioid abuse in the state.

“I will not have the blood of addicted New Jerseyans on my hands because we waited to act,” he said in his State of the State speech on January 10. “I will not willingly watch another 1,600 of our citizens die and watch their families mourn and suffer.”

However, some medical professionals have reservations about the new law. “This is a complex problem that involves education in schools, law enforcement, drug trafficking and access to addiction treatment,” said Dr. Scott Woska, a pain doctor who represented the New Jersey Pain Society at a hearing regarding the bill in January. “Regulating doctors and the prescription process I do not feel would help the societal problem.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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