Drug-control advocates want New Jersey lawmakers to move on a bill requiring doctors to discuss the risks of addiction before prescribing an opiate-based painkiller to anyone under 18.
Elaine Pozycki, who chairs the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said her son died after becoming addicted to pain relievers that were prescribed to treat a sports injury.
“Had I been told about the addictive qualities of the medicines Steven was prescribed, I would have known to look for alternatives. I would have known to look for the signs and symptoms of abuse,” she said.
Dr. Andrew Kolondy, the co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said he believes the legislation would have a significant impact.
“If doctors and patients and parents understood that hydrocodone and oxycodone were essentially heroin pills, I think they would be much more careful,” he said.
Assembly Health Committee Chairman Herb Conaway, a physician, hasn’t posted the bill for a vote.
“I don’t believe that the government has a role in interfering with the speech that occurs between patients and physicians,” said Conaway, D-Camden.
Doctors have to tell patients about the risks of the medications they prescribe, he said, and the legislation isn’t needed.