New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Bill to Battle Opioid Crisis Advances

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Requires Reporting of All Overdose Deaths

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean that would require the reporting of all opioid deaths to more accurately reflect the magnitude of the worsening health crisis.

Under Sen. Kean’s bill, all overdose-related deaths must be reported to the Department of Health by the medical examiner or health care professional who determined the cause of death. (©iStock)

“The deadly opioid crisis continues to escalate at an alarming rate in New Jersey,” said Kean (R-21). “If we are going to develop policies and practices to rein in this epidemic, accurate statistics and reporting are crucial. Drug-related fatalities can often go unreported to the State and federal governments due to inconsistencies in investigations and classification of the cause of death.”

Kean’s measure (A5446/S3907) would mandate a medical examiner or health care professional  who determines a death was related to opioids to report it to the State health department. On its web site, the department would publish the number of overdose deaths and the type of opioid involved.

More than 16,000 drug deaths have been reported in the New Jersey since 2012. The rate increased by 40 percent in 2016 alone.

“Opioid abuse is taking a devastating toll on communities across the state,” said Kean. “No neighborhood, no family is immune to this lethal threat. I expect the Legislature to endorse this bipartisan measure and look forward to the Governor’s support.”

Kean also sponsors legislation (A5445/S3909) that would establish a program to detect fentanyl in the illegal drug supply.  The bill would require the attorney general to establish a program to test for fentanyl in all controlled dangerous substances seized by police in the state.

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