Gov. Murphy signs legislation in bid to combat opioid crisis

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Gov. Phil Murphy has signed three pieces of legislation that address the opioid crisis.

A-3292, A-4744, and SJR-35 will strengthen opioid prescription label requirements, ensure greater access to Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) benefits for Medicaid recipients, and spread awareness of opioid abuse through the designation of Oct. 6 as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day,” according to a July 15 press release from the governor’s office.

“The opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on our communities, robbing us of too many of our friends, family members and loved ones,” Murphy said. “This legislation continues our work to combat the opioid crisis by ensuring there are warning labels outlining the risk of opioid medications, expanding access to the treatment so many need, and raising awareness of just how easy it is to become addicted to opioids.”

Under A-3292, containers for prescription opioid medications dispensed in New Jersey will be required to have a warning label or sticker describing the risk of opioid medications, according to the press release.

A-4744 requires the Department of Human Services to ensure the provision of benefits for certain types of medication assisted treatment to eligible persons under the Medicaid program are provided without the imposition of any prior authorization, providing the treatments are prescribed or administered by licensed medical practitioners, according to the press release.

SJR-35 designates Oct. 6 of each year as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” to raise awareness about the dangers of, and the link between, opioid abuse and heroin addiction, according to the press release.

“These measures are pivotal for New Jersey to get ahead of its opioid epidemic,” Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “At a basic level, folks need to know if their medications have opioids in them and need access, without barriers, to get the treatment they need. I am also excited about a day to collectively come together to address this epidemic, which has stolen too many lives from our communities and families.”