Following yesterday’s report by the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) on its findings about prescription drugs and heroin abuse in New Jersey, Assembly Republicans Mary Pat Angelini and Dave Wolfe reiterated their call for consideration of a bill they introduced on June 10 that seeks to curb such abuses by revising provisions of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

The legislation seeks to increase participation in New Jersey’s electronic PMP which collects data on prescriptions dispensed for all controlled and dangerous substances in an effort to prevent the diversion, abuse and illegal sale of prescription drugs. SCI’s report maintains that medicines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and intended for those needing pain relief have been funneled into criminal enterprises whose intent is to foster drug abuse and addiction.

“The drug abuse that results from those illegally dispensing prescriptions for financial gain or for what they believe is harmless recreational use is a social issue that needs to be addressed by our state-of-the art technology along with the cooperation of those who oversee and supervise their distribution,” says Angelini. “The instances of prescriptive drug abuse are increasing at an alarming rate, especially when they are diverted from the intended recipient and sold to those who are vulnerable.”

The goal of the bill is to increase participation in the PMP by allowing doctors to designate an employee from their practice to access the database. It also requires the Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the program, to notify prescribers and dispensers, as well as law enforcement, when they have identified potential misuse of prescription drugs.

“Improved oversight of those who authorize and dispense narcotics will deter and bring to justice those who put the potential for financial gain of pain medication above a patient’s welfare,” says Wolfe. “The incidents of the out-in-the-open sale and purchase of drugs described in the report indicates that pushers have no fear. Utilizing the monitoring and reporting requirements and capabilities of the PMP sends the message to these predators that they will be caught and punished.”