Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Prescribers Must Be Our First Line of Defense Against Opioid Addiction


 To truly curb the opioid epidemic, both here in New Jersey and nationally, we must realize former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murphy’s vision of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers, truly being "the first line of defense in the battle against addiction.”  

New Jersey’s recently adopted comprehensive law to combat opioid addiction, incorporating common sense measures that Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, addiction experts and impacted families have long advocated, provides the tools for doctors and other medical practitioners to become an active part of the solution. 
This new law limits initial prescriptions to five pills and mandates all prescribers receive ongoing training in current best prescribing practices as a condition of being allowed to prescribe opiate-based painkillers. The new law also requires a conversation between all patients and their doctor before an opiate is prescribed about the risks of addiction and potential alternatives. This requirement for a conversation before an opiate is prescribed expands to all patients the provisions of a recently adopted law targeted specifically at the parents of children and teenagers. Taken together, these measures enable us to go after the opioid epidemic right at its source: the over-prescribing of opioid based painkillers.  
To ensure the best possible results, however, requires the medical community to embrace the spirit of the new law and put its provisions into practice. That is why the continued resistance of the Medical Society of New Jersey, which opposed the legislation, is so problematic. Contrary to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical and addiction experts who understand that the main cause of the current epidemic is over-prescribing and as a result emphasize the need to employ alternative non-addictive treatments, which for most kinds of pain are just as effective as opioid-based pain relievers, the Medical Society of New Jersey remains stuck in the old paradigm. In an all-too-typical comment, Chief Operating Officer Mishael Azam recently said “”Since the CDC guidelines were released and (S3) was signed, patients feel like criminals for needing pain medication."
In a state and nation where 4.59 million prescriptions and 216 million prescriptions, respectively, were written for opioid-based pain relievers last year, the problem I respectfully submit is not under-prescribing. Despite some welcome modest reductions in the number of prescriptions issued each year, it is still over-prescribing. A recently released John Hopkins University School of Public Health Report on the Opiate Epidemic, which strongly recommends tightening up prescribing practices, notes, “Doctors often prescribe pain medications in quantities and for conditions that are excessive, and in many cases, beyond the evidence base.” And 85 percent of doctors themselves say that opiate-based pain medications are over-prescribed, according to national surveys. 
Additionally,  research demonstrates that people who abuse or are dependent on prescription opiate painkillers are 40 times more likely to abuse or be dependent on their illegal street cousin, heroin. They contain the same underlying ingredient. And a recent University of Michigan study showed that high school students who use prescription opioids, like OxyContin, Vicodin and other pain relievers, are 33 percent more likely to abuse opioids by the age of 23.
The impacts of the old ways of prescribing are being felt every day in our state. More than 100,000 New Jersey residents are already addicted to prescription opiates or heroin. More than 5,000 people have died from overdoses in our state in the past decade alone. And the overdose antidote, Narcan, is employed more than 20 times a day
Fortunately, despite the attitude of the Medical Society, there are doctors, nurses and medical practitioners throughout New Jersey stepping up and embracing current best practices. One encouraging example is a ground-breaking pilot program, Alternatives to Opiates (ALTO), underway at St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center Emergency Room. This successful program demonstrates that most patients can be given effective pain relief without the use of opiates. So far, three out of every four patients needing treatment to reduce pain were successfully treated by alternative medications and therapy, forgoing the use of highly addictive opioid-based painkillers
I urge the Medical Society of New Jersey to turn the page and embrace and publicize efforts like the ones at St. Joseph’s and proactively educate all New Jersey doctors on how they can affirmatively implement the provisions of the new law. That would be a real public service, paying off in saved lives.
 Elaine Pozycki is Co- Chair of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


I Need to Take Leave from Work Because of a Disability. What are My Rights and Obligations?

According to studies, as many as one in ten persons of working age in the United States have at least one disability.  As a result of a disability or illness, most of us will need to take extended leave during the course of a career.  If you or someone you know suffers from a disability or illness and needs to take time off from work, here are some important things to know:

Leave Can ...

Morris Animal Inn Hosts Live Q&A Session; Wednesday Feb. 28

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Do you have questions about grooming your dog? The Morris Animal Inn is hosting a Live Question and Answer Session on Wednesday February 28 at 11:30am. Tune in to have all your questions answered by Morris Animal Inn's Grooming Manager, Jayanne.

Morris Animal Inn offers:

Bath, brush out, ear cleaning and nail trim package
Haircut to your specifications
Healthy ...

71 Years After Leaving High School, Roxbury Man Gets Diploma

March 21, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – 90-year-old Chester “Chet” Jones had only four words to say Monday when presented with an honorary diploma from Roxbury High School: “That’s all I wanted.”

The lifelong Roxbury resident left high school in January of his senior year to work and then join the military, said Roxbury High School Guidance Director Emilie Bacchetta. She said failing ...

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Hop On Over; Annual Easter Egg Hunts Take Place in Morris Township and Morristown

March 19, 2018

 MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ -  Grab those Easter baskets! Morris Township and Morristown kids are invited to area Easter Egg Hunts this month.

The Morris Township Volunteer Firefighers will be sponsoring 3 Easter Egg Hunts throughout the Township this month. The Fairchild Fire Department will have an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday March 24 at the Alfred Vail School. The hunt begins at ...

Law Enforcement Night Set for March 16th

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Please note that the LAW ENFORCEMENT NIGHT previously scheduled for last week will now be held this Friday at 7pm on March 16th at Mennen Arena.  Mennen Arena is at 161 E. Hanover Ave, Morristown, NJ.

The Morris Area Coalition for Education and Positive Choices is rapidly becoming a household name in Morris County.  Word is spreading about the many initiatives being ...

Parade Officials; Morristown's St. Patrick's Day Parade is ON

MORRISTOWN, NJ -   The powerful Nor'easter that ripped through our area has shut down streets and left many without power, but it has not stopped the Irish spirit. Organizers for the Morris County St. Patrick's Day parade announced that the St. Patrick's Day Parade is on! The parade and pre-parade festivities will go on as planned Saturday March 10.

Weekend-long Anniversary Event for The Shops at 980: Baby Crossing, The Depot and Paradise

March 21, 2018

Morristown’s The Depot, Baby Crossing and Paradise (The Shops at 980) are having an anniversary event beginning Thursday celebrating their first year together as Three Stores Under One Roof!

Starting Thursday morning customers can enjoy deals, giveaways and treats such as champagne and cupcakes! Please join us Thursday March 22nd through Sunday March 25th at 980 Mt Kemble Avenue (on Rt ...

County College of Morris Performing Arts and Cultural Events Spring 2018 Season

APRIL 2018:

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Wednesday through Saturday, April 11-14
7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee 2 p.m. Student Community Center Dragonetti Auditorium

The Broadway Theatre is crumbling and closing! To pay homage, past performers of the “Weismann Follies” have gathered there for a reunion and final goodbye to the historic landmark. Journey through ...

April Blood Drives Scheduled at 2 Morristown Locations

MORRISTOWN, NJ- New Jersey Blood Services, a division of New York Blood Center (NYBC) is asking for help to maintain an adequate supply of all blood types, but especially O-negative – the “universal” blood which can be transfused into anyone in an emergency.  In addition, hundreds of additional blood drives need to be scheduled to meet projected hospital demand.  ...

More Snow on the Way? Winter Storm Watch Issued for Morristown

March 20, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - With the official start of spring just days away, winter does not want to let go of its hold -- another Nor'easter is headed our way.  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the area predicting 6 to 10 inches of new accumulation.

The warning is in effect Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening according to the NWS.  ...

CCM Announces Plans for an Engineering and Manufacturing Facility Meeting the Needs of Students and Employers

RANDOLPH, NJ – County College of Morris (CCM) will be meeting the demand to expand several popular academic areas and offer local businesses greater support in addressing their need for skilled employees through the construction of a $10 million Engineering and Manufacturing building.

The 30,000 square foot building will be constructed on the college’s Randolph campus.  ...

“iCanBike’’ Program for Disabled Residents Coming to Morris County

RANDOLPH, NJ - A special biking camp for people ages eight and older with disabilities is going to be held for the first time ever in Morris County this summer, at the County College of Morris in Randolph during the week of August 6. 

The week-long iCanBike program teaches participants to ride independently through a week of training. Using adapted, custom-built bike equipment, and ...

Outstanding Citizens To Be Honored at the Boy Scouts of America 23rd Annual Morris County Lifetime Achievement Awards Dinner

March 15, 2018

Boy Scouts of America, Patriots’ Path Council will be honoring local community members at the Boy Scouts of America 23rd Annual Morris County Lifetime Achievement Awards Dinner to be held on the evening of Thursday, April 19th at The Hanover Marriott in Whippany at 6:30 pm.  This year’s honorees are Reynaldo Caudillo, Bruce Jones, Michael Lupton, Ron Morano, Lou Nisivoccia, and ...

Recent Storms Close Morristown National Historical Park

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The past two storms have impacted the Morristown National Historical Park. There has been damage from downed trees, loss of power, dangling power lines, and two feet of snow have made conditions unsafe for the public in certain areas.

The following areas are CLOSED until further notice:
*Jockey Hollow (Visitor Center, trails, tour road)
*Fort Nonsense
*New Jersey ...

Morristown Students Invited to 3rd Annual Makers Day!

DENVILLE, NJ - The maker movement in the United States isn’t just a hobby; it’s having a significant impact on school curriculum development and growing local economies. To celebrate making and maker culture, residents throughout New Jersey will come together on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10, 2018 in libraries, schools, museums, colleges, makerspaces, businesses and other ...

6 Easy Ways to Increase Zzzz’s During National Sleep Awareness Month and Beyond!

Team Nest Builder knows sleep deprivation leads to a myriad of problems, so we’re here to help you make your New Jersey home bedrooms the havens you deserve! Take a look at these simple ideas for increasing your zzzzz’s:

Soften Up

Employ a large area rug that covers the entire room to help absorb sound and enhance comfort.

Feeling Blue

According to a study by Travelodge, ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Valyrian Steel: Where is it All? Should We Still Care?

There is a glaring hole in recent Game of Thrones seasons that needs to be addressed: the ability of Valyrian steel to destroy White Walkers has not been acknowledged since before Jon Snow’s death.

In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned since the Season Five finale when Jon Snow reveals this discovery to Sam Tarly. Jon has cared about little more than the war between the living and ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

March 20, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

Being Prepared for Your Retirement Years, WFP Protects Clients From Being Blindsided

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - People work hard all their lives accumulating assets, but they really only understand investments at retirement, when they must start paying for their lifestyle, said Walter Pardo, in an interview in the March edition of Advisors Magazine. Pardo is a Certified Wealth Strategist and CEO of Wealth Financial Partners and WFP Tax ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, March 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Les Photos de Bernie at the Wayrick ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, March 22, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster

Youth Art Month

Arts & Entertainment

Suspicious Person, Outstanding Warrants and Drugs Top This Week's Police Blotter

March 19, 2018

3/11: ARRESTS FOR NARCOTICS: Officers executed a motor-vehicle stop at the Tourne County Park in Boonton Township. An investigation led to Andrew M. Dodson, age 23, of Montville Township, to be charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Driving While Intoxicated; and Manoj  Muthukumaran, age 23, of Montville Township, to be ...

Michael V. Colvin Joins Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

March 21, 2018

SARASOTA, FL – The law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, is pleased to announce that Michael V. Colvin has joined the firm as a member of the Broker-Dealer Litigation and Arbitration team. For more than 15 years, Michael served as vice president and counsel for Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management Division in New York.

Michael V. Colvin is a member of a team of Shumaker ...