New Jersey's 7th Legislative District

Senator Diane Allen

Senator Diane Allen

Allen Bill to Prevent Drug-Seeking in Emergency Rooms Passes Senate

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Senator Diane Allen’s bill to prevent doctor-shopping in emergency rooms, by requiring providers to check the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) before prescribing a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance has passed the New Jersey Senate.

Sen. Diane Allen’s bill prevents doctor-shopping in emergency rooms by requiring prescribers to check the NJPMP before writing a prescription for a controlled dangerous substance. (Wikimedia Commons)

“A person who is suffering from this unbearable disease will understandably stop at nothing to ease their pain. Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day. It is easy to see why they have become hot spots for doctor-shopping,” Senator Allen (R-Burlington) said.

“Anyone who writes a prescription for a controlled dangerous substance should be required to check the NJPMP before putting pen to paper. It only takes one supply to ruin someone’s life. There can be no exceptions to the laws we have in place to combat the opioid crisis.” Allen added.

Pharmacies are required to report information on a daily basis to the NJPMP, a statewide database of prescription data on Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) and Human Growth Hormone that is dispensed in in outpatient settings in New Jersey, and by out-of-State pharmacies dispensing into New Jersey.

Currently, prescribers are required to check a patient’s prescription monitoring information the first time a new patient receives a prescription for a Schedule II CDS, and on a quarterly basis thereafter for continuing prescriptions. However, there are a number of exceptions to this law.

One such exception states that doctors in an emergency department do not have to check the NJPMP if they are issuing a prescription that does not exceed a five-day supply.

Senator Allen’s bill (S-3118) closes this dangerous loophole, by requiring every emergency room prescriber to check a patient’s prescription monitoring information before issuing a prescription for a Schedule II CDS, such as OxyContin or Morphine.

Between 2013 and 2016, the number of opioid prescriptions issued in New Jersey dropped 11 percent, in part due to the success of the NJPMP. However, there were still nearly 4.6 million prescriptions written in the state last year.

Studies show that patients who saw a doctor with a higher tendency to prescribe pain-killers are about 30 percent more likely to end up with an opioid prescription of at least six months. One third of Americans who take prescription painkillers for at least two months develop a deadly addiction.

Four out of five new heroin users have a history of abusing prescription painkillers. How many got their first dose in an emergency room?” Senator Allen added. “Expanding prescription monitoring requirements to emergency rooms will widen our ability to find people who are suffering from this disease, and connect them with the treatment and recovery resources they need to stay alive.”


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