New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve C. Lee, in an op-ed published today in The Star-Ledger, called upon New Jersey's healthcare community to embrace the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) in order to help fight the nationwide epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
The op-ed was published in connection with National Prevention Week, an observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse issues.
The op-ed can be read in full at NJ.com.
"Last year, a Mercer County physician logged onto the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program database to search prescriptions written in his name. The results shocked him. The doctor discovered his identity had been stolen in a massive prescription fraud scheme.
"One or more criminals had illegally obtained his prescription pad and were using it to forge prescriptions for oxycodone, a widely abused narcotic painkiller. Within a month, 12 fraudulent patient names had been used to obtain 1,300 pills, sellable on the streets for $25,000. If this physician hadn't searched NJPMP records, this illegal opiate distribution scheme might never have been detected."
The op-ed notes that slightly more than 20 percent of New Jersey's eligible prescribers and pharmacists have registered to use the NJPMP. "Given that the program is relatively new, that's an impressive adoption rate … [b]ut with the urgency of our drug-abuse crisis, New Jersey's health care community can and must do better."
The op-ed goes on to describe the steps that the Division of Consumer Affairs has taken to increase the rate at which prescribers and pharmacists bring the NJPMP into their daily practice, and notes that New Jersey's healthcare community must fully commit to the prescription-tracking database in order to help reduce drug diversion and opiate abuse.
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 Division's Project Medicine Drop website.
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