NJ to Require Physicians to Discuss Addictive Qualities of Opiates Prior to Prescribing

NJ to Require Physicians to Discuss Addictive Qualities of Opiates Prior to Prescribing

According to the The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, Garden State residents will now be informed of the addictive qualities of the medicines their children are prescribed thanks to a new law, the first of its kind in the nation, which passed recently in the State.

The new law (A3424/S2156) signed by Governor Chris Christie requires prescribers, both physicians and dentists, to speak to the parents of their patients under the age of 18 before prescribing an opioid, according to Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ).

The law also requires prescribers to discuss non-opiate alternatives and make note of the conversation.

“The passage of today’s law will guarantee that families are equipped with the knowledge they need to prevent opiate abuse in their children. This groundbreaking law will serve as a model for the rest of the nation in their efforts to combat the opioid abuse epidemic,” explained Valente.

The new law requires health care professionals with prescribing authority to discuss the addiction potential of any opioid drug that is a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance prior to issuing a prescription for the medication to a patient who is under 18 years of age.

The prescriber is required to have this discussion with the patient, along with the patient's parent or guardian, if the patient is not an emancipated minor. The prescriber is specifically be required to discuss the risks of developing a physical or psychological dependence on the medication and, if the prescriber deems it appropriate, any alternative treatments that may be available. The prescriber is now also required to include a note in the patient's medical record indicating that the discussion took place.

The new law does not require the discussion when prescribing medication to patients who are under hospice care.

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