Singleton, Mainor & Mukherji Bill Requiring Addiction Treatment Training for Correctional Facility Physicians Approved by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Charles Mainor and Raj Mukherji requiring supervising physicians at state, county and municipal correctional facilities to be trained to deal with addicted patients was approved earlier this week by an Assembly panel.

“More than half of the nation’s 2.3 million inmates have substance abuse and addiction problems, but only 11 percent received treatment for their addictions,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Without proper treatment, the likelihood of relapsing after release is greater; which doesn’t help the inmates, their communities, or the taxpayers, who will once again foot the bill if they return to prison.”

“Failing to treat inmates with addiction problems while they are imprisoned is a wasted opportunity,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “If they come out the same way they came in, with no intervention, there is a greater chance that they will relapse and revert to the behavior that landed them in prison in the first place, which not only impacts their own health, but the resources of the state.”

“Locking up people with addictions without treating them before release is counterproductive,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “By requiring supervising physicians to be appropriately trained in the area of addiction treatment, we will equip these facilities to manage the growing population of inmates with addiction so that they don’t recidivate.”

The bill (A-3730) would require physicians who have primary supervisory authority over other medical personnel at each state, county, or municipal correctional facility to have adequate training in the treatment of addicted patients.

Under the bill, the physician would have to hold a subspecialty board certification in addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Medical Specialties, an addiction certification from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, or a subspecialty board certification in addiction medicine from the American Osteopathic Association. Another option would be to complete no less than eight hours of training with respect to the treatment and management of opioid-addicted patients. This training would be provided by an organization chosen by the Commissioner of Health.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee and referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Jan. 12.