By Brian K. Everett | NJ Poverty Reality
Whereas nearly half of all individuals who inject heroin began their addiction due to a dependence to prescription opioids, and whereas more and more New Jersey residents fall victim to addictive opioid prescriptions and heroin abuse, the following bill will take aim at the source of opioid and heroin abuse.
All of the current legislative action concerning the topic thus far has focused heavily on overdose antidotes, counseling and rehab for abusers, and resource distribution and awareness. Legislative action has focused almost entirely on initiatives that aim to take care of opioid abusers after they have already succumbed to the addictive properties of prescription opioids.
This bill moves to prevent addiction from being a side effect of temporary pain:
The Opioid and Heroin Prevention Act of 2016
The Opioid and Heroin Addiction Prevention Act (OHAP) redefines medical procedures and guidelines for patients who are experiencing temporary pain. OHAP aims to define temporary pain due to the fact that it will subside either on its own within a week’s time, or, with the aid of guided physical therapy with a week’s time. Since the pain experienced by patients for the following injuries will subside on its own within a short time period, the State of New Jersey no longer views it to be best medical practice to prescribe opioid medications which have addictive side effect possibilities. The following ailments, injuries, and procedures no longer qualify for opioid prescriptions resulting from the first visit to a licensed medical professional:
-Wisdom tooth removal
-Slip and falls resulting in bruising
-Singular broken bones
-Back aches/displacement/herniation of discs
-Car accidents resulting in bruising/singular broken bones
-Surgery resulting in patient’s discharge in the same day
Licensed medical professionals are allowed to prescribe opioid medications for the above injuries, ailments, and procedures if a patient’s pain does no subside within a week’s time (7 days) of the first visit for treatment, or remains in the hospital for more than one day.
Of course, I am not a medical doctor, but I don’t think a legislative initiative like OHAP is too far-fetched. Let’s start the conversation about real opioid and heroin addiction reform with OHAP. Let’s ask the question as to why the best method to treat a bad bruise is to prescribe drugs with addiction as a side effect.
I want New Jersey’s legislators to read about OHAP. I challenge them to copy it, and put it through Trenton, especially if they’ve used personal anecdotes in speeches or campaign initiatives.