New Jersey Assembly Panel Advances Bill in Response to Rising Rates of Drug Addiction

The rate of addiction to prescription drugs and heroin has been increasing all over the United States in recent years. A New Jersey Bill has been advanced by a state Assembly Panel relating to these issues. The bill comes partially as a response to a 2013 report showing a high rate of prescription drug abuse in the state. This Bill, A-3062, will increase restrictions on the prescription and dispensing of painkillers in various ways.

According to the Bill, in addition to criminal penalties, health care providers will be subject to civil penalties for improperly prescribing pain killers. The first offense will carry a $10,000 penalty, the second offense and those thereafter will carry a $20,000 penalty. Each individual prescription and/or refill will count as a separate instance of improper prescribing and carry a separate penalty.

The Bill will also require pharmacies to submit information on prescriptions dispensed once a day. Anyone who prescribes or dispenses prescription pain killers will be responsible for checking information in a prescription monitoring program prior to prescribing/dispensing to see if the patient has received other prescriptions that indicate abuse or aversion.

The Bill will grant the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs authority to gather information involving relationships between licensees of the State Board of Medical Examiners. The State Board of Medical Examiners will also be required to adopt clear rules relating to the use of prescription pain killers for pain management. It will also institute new security features to prevent the erasure or duplication of prescriptions.

The effects of this Bill will significantly increase penalties for those involved in the improper prescription of pain killers. It has been found that many medical professionals have been involved in “pill mills”. Pill Mills are medical practices and pharmacies that give addicts access to prescription pain killers on a regular basis. Some Pill Mills have also been linked to organized crime and gangs in the State of New Jersey.

If you have been accused of the improper prescription or dispensing of pain killers or any other crime, contact the New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at Sitzler & Sitzler at (609)267-1101.