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Experts Urge New Jersey Legislators to Take Steps to Curb Opioid Abuse

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Addiction treatment experts urged New Jersey legislators last week to take steps to curb opioid abuse, including expanding what doctors are required to learn about addiction, and making participation in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program mandatory.

The Daily Journal reports the experts also recommended implementing video conference technology that would allow doctors to discuss patient cases with pain management specialists. According to Dr. Daren Anderson, the chief quality officer at Community Health Center in Connecticut, a similar initiative in his state that used secure email messages to consult with pain management specialists reduced specialty visits by 56 percent.

Experts urged legislators to support a campaign to educate the public on opioid abuse, and to increase long-term treatment facilities for addiction. They spoke at a hearing of the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

The committee’s work is likely to lead to new legislation, because both Republicans and Democrats, as well as Governor Chris Christie, have expressed concern about prescription painkiller and heroin abuse, according to NJ Spotlight.

Earlier this year, Christie signed into law a measure that encourages people to report drug overdoses. The law allows people to call 911 to report a drug overdose, without the fear of getting arrested for drug possession themselves.

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