Downey, Houghtaling Sponsor Bill Allowing Patients Discretion Regarding Prescriptions of Opiates, Other Controlled Substances

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TRENTON -- As part of their ongoing effort to address the growing epidemic of opioid abuse in Monmouth County and statewide, Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling have introduced legislation that would permit patients to indicate to doctors that they should not be prescribed opiates and certain other controlled substances.

“This bill is another example of how we can get smart about tackling the opioid abuse crisis right at home in our communities,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “Many people do use opiates responsibly for pain relief, but many others understand that just the presence of these drugs in their home can be a danger.”

“Opiates and other controlled substances are known to be addictive or to carry significant potential for abuse, and patients should have a right to choose alternative pain medications,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), “Part of tackling opioid abuse is creating these dialogues between healthcare providers and patients about what is best for each person.”

The bill would establish a voluntary process through which any patient can request that their prescription monitoring information include an indication that they should not be prescribed opioid drugs or other controlled substances that are known to have the potential for abuse or addiction. By establishing this designation, patients will be able to communicate the preference even in the event that they are incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate. To ensure patients and healthcare providers are aware of the process, the bill includes an education and outreach program.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee and awaits further consideration.

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