Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa Wednesday unveiled New Jersey’s most comprehensive program to date to crack down on prescription drug addictions and overdoses, but making a dent in the problem will depend largely on how many doctors and pharmacists buy into the state’s efforts.
“Prescription drugs, when properly prescribed and properly taken, are of great benefit to patients,” Chiesa said. “But a prescription drug improperly obtained and taken indiscriminately without a valid medical purpose can be deadly.”
The program will track every prescription filled in the state for controlled dangerous substances and human growth hormone.
It will allow investigators to target patients getting multiple prescriptions from different doctors or filling them at different pharmacies. It will also identify doctors and pharmacists who improperly approve or dispense unusually large amounts of drugs, which could result in fines, jail or the loss of their license. Several cases have already been referred to investigators, Chiesa said.
Health care providers will have real-time access to the information generated by the program so they can check a patient’s prescription history and detect possible addiction or abuse, as well as to determine what drugs might be responsible for medical complications or an overdose. Pharmacists also will be able to check a customer’s history at other pharmacies.
“Legitimate doctors prescribing medications of real reasons will continue to do that because in their judgment they’re making the best decisions for their patients,” Chiesa said. “What we’re going to do is take a look at the places that’s not happening.”