New Jersey has taken a big step toward curbing opioid addiction in the state. On February 15, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation limiting initial opioid prescriptions to a five-day supply. The bill was signed just minutes after the Assembly approved the measure.
Limiting the number of doses available with a first-time prescription serves several purposes. First, it requires doctors to monitor patient reactions to the drug more closely. Second, it reduces the chances of abuse by the patient. Third, it makes it harder to obtain and sell prescription opioids illegally.
The prescription drug limit does not apply to cancer and chronic pain patients or for end-of-life care. The legislation also calls for continuing education for professionals who prescribe drugs. In addition, the new law requires health insurers to cover inpatient and outpatient treatment for drug addiction.
“New Jersey now leads the way first and foremost in recognizing [opioid addiction] is a disease,” said Christie.
In 2015, nearly 1,600 people died from opioids in New Jersey. Last month, Christie declared opioid drugs to be a public health crisis. An executive order he issued also created an eight-member task force to develop a comprehensive strategy.
Having prescription drugs on you without a valid prescription can land you in serious legal trouble. If you are found with four or fewer units of a prescription drug, you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense, which can lead to up to six months in jail. Should you be suspected of intending to distribute or sell such quantities, you could be facing an additional 18 months on your sentence and added fines of up to $10,000. If you are caught with at least five but fewer than 100 units and convicted on intent to distribute charges, you could be facing up to $200,000 in fines and a prison sentence of 3 to 5 years. Getting caught with more than 100 units means facing fines of up to $300,000 and a prison sentence of five to 10 years.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug related crimes or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, it is essential that you contact an attorney for help. The skilled criminal defense attorneys of the Rosenblum Law Firm have extensive experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.