Governor Chris Christie announced today that the States of New Jersey and New York have joined forces in the national fight against heroin and opioid addiction by sharing data to track prescription sales of narcotic painkillers and other drugs that often lead to addiction.
“New Jersey and New York share a close relationship in which our residents regularly travel between the states for business and pleasure. Today we’re coming together for another purpose – to fight the devastating scourge of drug addiction,” said Governor Christie. “By tracking the sale of prescription opioids across our state lines, doctors and prescribers in New Jersey and New York can work together to identify addicts seeking new places to feed their devastating habit.”
New York is the latest state to partner with New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) to share records on the sale of prescriptions for Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS). Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Minnesota, and South Carolina also share their prescription monitoring data with New Jersey, which allows prescribers and pharmacists to identify “doctor shoppers” who cross state lines to obtain their drugs fraudulently.
With today’s announced partnership with New York, the State of New Jersey has taken another significant step forward in combatting a national heroin and opioid crisis fueled, in part, by patients who become addicted to prescription pain pills.
“Partnering with New York adds tremendous power to the NJPMP’s ability to track suspicious signs of prescription drug misuse,” said Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy said. “We now have one more ally in our multi-state fight against opioid abuse.”
New Jersey established the NJPMP database in September 2011. To date, the NJPMP contains nearly 59 million records of prescription drug prescribing and dispensing, including prescriptions for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
Each record in the database contains the names of the patient, doctor, and pharmacy; drug dispensing date; type, days’ supply, and quantity of medication; and method of payment. More than 96 percent of all licensed physicians in New Jersey presently are registered to use the NJPMP.
The NJPMP is available to all licensed healthcare practitioners who are authorized by the State of New Jersey to prescribe or dispense CDS medications. They can search individual patients’ prescribing patterns and learn, for example, whether a patient has engaged in “doctor shopping” – deceptively visiting multiple physicians, to obtain more narcotics than any one doctor would prescribe – or other patterns consistent with addiction or abuse.
The NJPMP is also a valuable tool for law enforcement and regulatory investigations regarding the unlawful diversion of prescription narcotics. The information provided by the database has been used to identify and successfully prosecute corrupt healthcare professionals associated with “pill mills” that dispense narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose.
“With New York now linked to our prescription monitoring system, individuals looking to profit from prescription drug abuse won’t be able to escape detection simply by crossing the Hudson River,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Our goal is to partner with as many states as we can to extend the reach of the NJPMP, and maximize its strength in the national fight against opioid abuse.”
In 2014, New Jersey began direct data-sharing with prescription monitoring programs in Delaware and Connecticut. Last year, interconnectivity was established with Rhode Island, Virginia, and Minnesota. In January, South Carolina linked into the system.
For more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ initiative to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, view the Division’s NJPMP website, and the Project Medicine Drop website.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.Related Articles: