Two Rooney bills countering opioid crisis pass state Legislature

Two Rooney bills countering opioid crisis pass state Legislature

Kevin J. Rooney

TRENTON, N.J. – On a day when legislation legalizing marijuana dominated the news cycle even without a vote, two bills advanced combatting the public health crisis of opioid misuse and related overdoses.

A bill (A3292) mandating warning stickers on bottles of prescribed opioids was approved by Senate Monday. It cleared the Assembly last March, and moves to the Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk for consideration. Also on Monday, the Assembly passed a measure (A4883) requiring hospital discharge papers to include opioid warnings.

More than 3,000 lives were lost to opioid overdose in New Jersey in 2018.

“There is an epidemic of overdose deaths in our state,” said Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, a sponsor of both bills. “Too often, a prescription for a painkiller can trigger the spiral into addiction, sometimes with fatal consequences. The measures passed this week can save lives by increasing awareness about the dangers of addiction.”

Under A3292, opioid prescription containers must include highly visible sticker warning of the risk of addiction and overdose.

Hospital discharge papers, under A4883, will include notification of the risks of addiction, overdose and death associated with opioid use. The information will include contacts for substance use treatment and recovery resources.

“These red flags will help users and their families recognize the power and the threat of narcotic medications,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Knowledge and awareness are compelling deterrents. I will continue to engage in discussions to fight addiction.”