What’s The Deal with Opiate Laws in New Jersey?

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Throughout the nationwide opioid crisis, New Jersey has been one of the most stringent states when it comes to enacting laws designed to curb the epidemic.

Opiates like heroin or pain pills have been among the hardest crackdowns when it comes to the state’s response to excessive prescription drug use. Here are the laws currently enacted within the Garden State.

Drug Laws in New Jersey

In 2017, New Jersey passed a law limiting initial opioid prescriptions to only a five-day supply. The idea being, by making it more difficult for patients to stockpile and consume excessive amounts of opiates, there will be less of a chance of addiction.

Any written prescription must be for the lowest effective dose, and the practitioner must document that patient’s entire medical history and develop a treatment plan before supplying the dose.

What was the result of this policy? The total amount of opioids dispensed per new prescription decreased by nearly one quarter according to Penn Medicine (their study was conducted in late 2019).

With prescriptions only going to patients who really needed them, not those with acute pain, the chances of individuals developing an addiction greatly decreased.

NJ Drug Use

New Jersey has been very harsh throughout its history when it comes to drug-related cases. Those caught with 50 grams or less can face up to 6 months in jail plus a hefty fine and a suspended driver’s license. If the person is caught with more than 50 grams, they can face 18 months in jail and a $25,000 fine.

What is the Prescription Rate per 100 Residents in New Jersey?

Among the opioid class of prescription drugs, rates of diagnoses have decreased from 59.8 to 34.4 in the past five years. Physicians are becoming more aware of the consequences associated with excessive diagnoses and the new laws make it more difficult to over diagnose.

The overall number of prescriptions written for opioids has gone down from a peak of 5 million a year in 2015 to 3 million in 2020. It’s a significant step forward in the battle against the opioid epidemic in New Jersey and nationwide.

Addiction Treatment Laws in New Jersey

Thanks in part to legislation and an alteration in prescription habits, New Jersey’s number of drug sentences is below the national average, but the state still struggles with drug abuse problems, most commonly from heroin and opioids.

In 2013, New Jersey enacted a reduction law called the Overdose Prevention Act, aimed at decreasing the number of fatalities in the state from drug overdoses. This law provides legal protections to an individual who may have witnessed an opioid overdose firsthand. It also grants doctors the ability to provide the powerful medication known as naloxone.

Seven years prior to that, the Garden State had passed the Bloodborne Disease Harm Reduction Act. This law aimed to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by allowing sterile syringe access programs.

Where Can I Find Treatment Options in New Jersey?

As far as treatment options are concerned, Workit Health has a top-rated drug and alcohol rehab solution available to all New Jersey residents. Speak with an experienced nurse practitioner virtually and address your addiction problems right away.

Courtney Todd is the digital marketing coordinator at Workit Health. She has a  passion for raising awareness in the addiction treatment, recovery, and public health space.

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