Press Release
Senator Tom Kean, Jr. Senator Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21)
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Contact: Robbie Kenney / (609) 847-3600
January 13, 2020
Kean Measure Requiring Reporting of All Overdose Deaths Awaits Governor’s Action

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean sponsors legislation, cleared today by the Senate, that would more accurately reflect the severity of the State’s opioid crisis.

Sen. Tom Kean’s bill requires the reporting of all opioid-related deaths to help understand the extent of the crisis and save lives. (

Kean’s bill (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. Passed by the Assembly in June, it now moves to Governor Murphy’s desk for consideration.

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

Under the bill, the health department would publish on its web site the number of overdose deaths and the type of opioid involved.

Since 2012, more than 16,000 drug deaths have been reported in the New Jersey. 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 or family is immune to this lethal threat. This is a step we can take immediately to fight this scourge.”

In addition, Kean sponsors legislation (A5445/S3909) that would establish a program to detect fentanyl in the illegal drug supply. That bill also awaits the Governor’s action after passing the Senate today.

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