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New Jersey Fighting Hard Against Opiate Overdose Epidemic

Opiate addiction is stampeding its way across every town in New Jersey as well as the United States. These drugs are not prejudice and they affect people from every demographic. It does not matter whether you were raised in the perfect family or if you come from a broken home, the drug will take over anyone who messes with it.

The state of New Jersey is one of the states most negatively affected by the opiate epidemic. New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in America, has two major cities nearby and a long coast filled with tourist towns. Being from New Jersey and a recovering addict myself, I can share that it is very easy to get your hands on illegal drugs and this needs to change and quickly.

Governor Chris Christie currently has 3 bills on his desk relating to the opiate overdose epidemic. Legislation is targeted at slowing and overall preventing opiate overdoses. On top of the three bills, there was a package of 21 bills announced in 2014 attempting to slow the numbers of fatal overdoses.

There is controversy surrounding some of the bills on Christie’s desk. Some of these bills will require medical doctors to talk to patients about the dangers of addiction when prescribing opiate medications. They will also allow people in drug court to use medications that assist in opiate treatment like methadone and suboxone. Lastly one of the bills will push state colleges to build housing to accompany those students who are in recovery from addiction.

There needs to be a push to get these bills passed. Doctors need to be educating their patients on the dangers these medications possess. Even more importantly, doctors need to be experts on these medications and understand everything about them before they prescribe them to patients. On top of understanding the medications they are prescribing, they also need to understand how the medications they prescribe are abused. According to a John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health study one-third of doctors questioned wrongly believed that most prescription drug abuse is by means other than swallowing the pills as intended. Studies found that 64 percent and 97 percent of abuse is by people swallowing the pills, not injecting, smoking or snorting them.

The bill will require that both the doctor and patients sign forms acknowledging that they gave/received an educational talk about the dangers behind the narcotic medication that is being prescribed. Doing so will give the doctor the chance to look into other forms of treating the pain besides prescribing narcotics. Hopefully these bills will help to make necessary changes to education and accountability for the prescribing of dangerous medications.

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