Trenton – In an effort to better help those struggling with opioid addiction, the Senate Committee on Health, Social Services and Seniors today passed three bills that would make opioid overdose medications more accessible .
The first bill, S-3800, sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego, would require health care providers and state programs to cover opioid antidotes, including naloxone, without imposing licensing requirements prior.
Specifically, the bill would deal with opioid antidotes that are either prescribed or administered to people by licensed physicians or licensed pharmacists, under a standing order allowing pharmacists to dispense opioid antidotes to any person. without individual prescription.
“Naloxone is an inexpensive drug that can be used to treat an opioid overdose in an emergency,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic / Burlington / Camden). âWhen properly administered, the drug has been shown to dramatically reduce the likelihood of death from overdose, saving countless lives to date. While no carrier currently requires prior authorization for naloxone, we need to ensure that our residents continue to have access to this essential, life-saving drug.
A second bill, S-3802, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, would require the Consumer Division to publish the retail price of certain opioid antidotes in the New Jersey Prescription Drug Retail Price Registry. The bill would also require pharmacies to include opioid antidotes on their retail price lists of prescription drugs made available to customers.
“In New Jersey alone, we have seen the devastating effects of opioid addiction, deaths from drug overdoses increasing every year since 2014,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). âHaving these antidotes readily available has proven to be extremely effective, with community overdose prevention programs successfully reversing over 25,000 deaths between 1996 and 2014. By having the price readily available, people with drug addiction will be more likely to seek opioid antidotes to help them in times of crisis.
The third bill, S-3803, sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale, would allow paramedics to administer buprenorphine.
Under the bill, paramedics can administer the drug to a person following the urgent administration of an opioid antidote to the person as long as the paramedic is:
- administer emergency medical services through a program registered with the United States Attorney General;
- dispense the drug in accordance with federal law requirements; and
- has completed comprehensive training and proficiency assessments regarding specific medical conditions requiring administration of buprenorphine, including dosage requirements and medical documentation required after administration.
“Buprenorphine is a drug used to treat opioid use disorders and is particularly useful in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms after a patient has been resuscitated from an opioid overdose with naloxone” , said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). âWhile naloxone is essential in preventing opioid overdose deaths, patients who receive the drug often experience severe withdrawal symptoms, which may cause them to take more of the drug. Buprenorphine is essential not only for helping people quitting, but also for stabilizing recovering patients by curbing opioid cravings.