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Senator Vitale

Reaffirms Commitment to the Fight Against Opiate and Heroin Abuse

TRENTON – Senate Health Committee Chairman and a sponsor of legislation that was signed into law in July 2015 which updated, expanded and improved the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) issued the following statement in response to the recent announcement of three additional states now sharing data with New Jersey. The NJPMP is an electronic database operated by the state that collects prescription data of Controlled Dangerous Substances dispensed in outpatient settings in New Jersey in an effort to identify individuals who are “doctor shopping” for opiates and prescribers that are operating “pill mills.” It is available to all licensed healthcare practitioners authorized by the state to prescribe or dispense CDS medications.

“Rhode Island, Virginia and Minnesota are a welcome addition to our network of states sharing data with New Jersey’s system to proactively address the growing problem of heroin addiction and opiate abuse in the nation. As doctors and pharmacists regularly monitor their patients’ prescription drug use, they are helping to strengthen a concerted effort to tackle the problem of heroin addiction at one of its primary sources – prescription painkillers.

“But our efforts must not stop here. We must look to expand the network beyond the current five states. We need to engage our neighboring states, New York and Pennsylvania, and the rest of the 49 states with prescription drug monitoring programs to share data for a more holistic approach. Such programs are helping to safeguard public health and safety across the nation while supporting the legitimate medical use of controlled substances for those who need them.

“If we are going to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs, we need to put our hands together as a nation to combat this raging epidemic and public health crisis from which no one is immune. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

“I am pleased to see the progress made with three additional states linked to New Jersey’s PMP, and I remain committed to the fight against opiate and heroin abuse through education, prevention, treatment and recovery efforts so we can begin to reverse the rapid trend of increasing opiate addiction and overdose deaths across the state.”

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