NJ could put new warning label on painkillers
Concerned about the ongoing opioid abuse epidemic, one New Jersey lawmaker is pushing a plan to require all prescription opioid pain medications to include a warning sticker on the bottle.
“Many people who take these drugs don’t really understand that this is an opiate, that there is a possibility that you could become addicted, and there’s another possibility that you could overdose,” said Assemblyman John Armato, D-Atlantic.
He pointed out the only warning you get on prescription medications right now is something simple like, “it may make you dizzy, it may make you drowsy, don’t operate machinery, don’t take when you’re pregnant — but that really doesn’t do enough for an opiate.”
Drug labeling regulations are controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but an additional warning label can be added to a bottle if a state requires it.
“It would be basically a red sticker with white lettering stating that it is an opiate and that it could be addictive and you can overdose on it.”
Armato is on the Atlantic County Opioid Task Force and is a certified recovery coach. He runs a monthly meeting for co-dependents of drug addicts.
He said many people don’t realize opioids are potentially addictive.
Armato said many times if a mother’s 17-year-old son gets a knee operation, when the doctor tells her give him pain pills three times a day every day, “this mother is talking to a gentleman in a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck, she goes home and she’s going to do exactly what he said.”
“We have to educate the public that they can say to the doctor excuse me, what is the downside of this and how many does he need to take? Does he need 30?”
He said while some don’t think about the possible consequences of taking a specific pain medication, others may not even realize that the drug they’ve been prescribed is an opioid.
“When they hear sometime on radio or see something on TV, we want people to say wait a minute, that’s an opioid, that’s what my son or daughter is taking and I better keep an eye on it.”
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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com