FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2016
Calls for Real Dollars to Combat Epidemic
In New Jersey, more than 184,000 individuals have been admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities for heroin or opioid abuse since 2010 and more than 5,000 have died from heroin-related deaths since 2004.
“We have a responsibility to the individuals, families, and communities that are being shattered by opioid addiction to do everything within our power to combat the current crisis,” said Pallone. “While I would have liked to see more in terms of a real investment in our public health infrastructure to deal with the complexity of addiction, and in addiction treatment centers like New Hope, I believe that this opioid package takes us several steps forward.”
While the legislation is an important first step, the Congressman also called for funding to fight the epidemic and empowering states with the resources to provide adequate treatment. He has introduced legislation that would commit $500 million annually to help individuals at all stages of crisis, specifically those suffering from prescription opioid and heroin dependence.
New Hope is a treatment center that serves those impacted by substance abuse, providing a range of counseling and clinical services across seven residential, transitional and outpatient facilities throughout Central New Jersey.
Among the services available at the facility, New Hope provides medication-assisted treatment. Throughout debate on the legislation, Pallone advocated for an expansion in access to this evidence based strategy to combat addiction and the final legislation allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat individuals with opioid use disorders with buprenorphine and authorizes grant programs to support states’ efforts to expand access to overdose-reversing drugs like naloxone and MAT programs within the criminal justice system. The legislation also takes an important step of reauthorizing the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act—known as NASPER—that has allowed states like New Jersey to track opioid prescriptions and prevent abuse and diversion.
The legislation clarifies that a doctor or patient may request that prescriptions for opioid painkillers be partially filled. This will reduce the number of unused pills in circulation, which will reduce the risk of misuse, diversion and overdose. Pallone discussed the importance of the partial pill legislation at Boyt Drugs in Metuchen in April.