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Lagana Legislation Urging Education, Monitoring of Prescription Opioids for Student Athletes Clears Assembly

(TRENTON) – Two Assembly Resolutions proposed by Assembly Democrat Joseph Lagana urging the education of student athletes and others on risks of opioid use in regards to pain management passed the full Assembly on Wednesday.

“Abuse of prescription opioids among adolescents is a growing rapidly and has become a major health concern for schools and families,” said Lagana (D-Bergen, Passaic). “School districts and nonpublic schools can and should play a more important role in addressing this problem through the adoption of targeted policies.”

One of the resolutions (AR-157), which passed the Assembly 64-0-4, states that in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid medication, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pain medication.

In the measure, Lagana urges the State Board of Medical Examiners to adopt the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, United States 2016 in order to improve use as a pain management Treatment, and reverse the cycle of opioid pain medication misuse that is contributing to the opioid overdose epidemic in New Jersey.

“Opioids are commonly prescribed for pain, even among student athletes who have suffered an injury while playing school sports,” said Lagana. “Clearly, more education, monitoring and, if possible, alternative medication is needed for our youth in order to stem the rise in opioid abuse among student athletes.”
Lagana said an estimated 20 percent of patients with non-cancer pain symptoms, pain-related diagnoses, or acute and chronic pain receives an opioid prescription.

The second Assembly resolution (AR-156), which passed the Assembly 69-0, urges school districts and nonpublic schools to adopt a policy, as suggested by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Medical Advisory Committee, to address the abuse of prescription opioids by students.

Under the measure, the policy would include notification to the school nurse by the student’s parent or guardian is an opioid medication has been prescribed; and drug monitoring is the student demonstrated any signs or symptoms that raise the possibility of opioid abuse during or beyond the durations of the prescription. The resolution will be distributed by the State Board of Education to all public and nonpublic schools.

Both measures will now go to the Senate for further consideration.