With well over 60,000 drug overdose deaths taking place throughout the country each year – the majority involving opioids – a bill sponsored by three Assembly Democrats to require medical practitioners to prescribe an opioid antidote to certain high-risk patients was signed into law Monday.
Under the law (formerly bill A-3869/S-2323), practitioners who prescribe opioids to patients with a history of substance use disorder, a daily opioid prescription greater than 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME), or a concurrent benzodiazepine prescription, must also give their patient a Food and Drug Administration-approved product that can treat/reverse opioid overdoses, such as Naloxone.
Upon the bill becoming law, Assembly sponsors John Armato (D-Atlantic), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) issued the following joint statement:
“It is always a tragedy whenever lives are lost to drug overdoses. It is even more tragic when you consider just how many of those lives could have been saved through access to overdose-reversal products.
“We need to do everything in our power to help give people the resources they need to combat accidental overdoses. When it comes to overdoses – every second is absolutely critical. Prescribing Naloxone to at-risk patients taking opioid pain-killers for chronic or acute pain will ensure this life-saving product is immediately available in the event of an emergency.”