New Label for Opioids in New Jersey
The New Jersey legislature is currently trying to decide if they should support a bill that will require warning labels to be placed on opioid drugs throughout the state. Although these labels are usually voted on and decided at the federal level, John Armato, Atlantic County Assemblyman, explains that the states themselves can also add labels if they choose.
If this bill were to go through, this would mean new labels would be included on bottles of pills that specifically identify them as opioids or narcotics. “There are so many different prescriptions out there for pain medication that sometimes you’re not aware it’s an opiate,” says Armato. With the sticker, it will be very clear what type of drug the patient will be using.
In addition, the sticker will warn users of the dangers of opioid drugs, specifically the potential for addiction in those who misuse their medication. Finally, it will state that overdose is a possibility when taking too many opioids and that death can result.
This label would show up on all prescription opioids legally sold in New Jersey if the bill passes, in addition to any federally mandated warning labels.
New Jersey’s Opioid Crisis
Though the entire country is struggling within the grip of the opioid crisis, New Jersey is experiencing serious problems, some even worse than the nation as a whole. For example, the heroin overdose rate in the Garden State is three times higher than that of the national average. This is due in large part to the prescription opioid drug crisis, which has led many people to abusing heroin as a way of combating tolerance and getting an even stronger high.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths increased 42.3 percent in New Jersey between 2015 and 2016. This is a statistically significant number.
Can I Take Opioid Drugs Safely?
There are times where it is necessary to take these medications in order to safely treat pain. However, those who are prescribed opioids must be extremely careful to avoid any potential for abuse and other issues.
- Take your medication exactly as prescribed.
- It is best to avoid using the drug around the clock unless absolutely necessary.
- Take the medication for no more than 7 days if possible. Those who use opioids for longer than 7 days are much more likely to become addicted.
- You can avoid dependence, tolerance, and the risk of depression by not taking these drugs for more than a week or two at a time.
- Talk to your doctor. There may be an alternative to using opioids or they may be able to put you on a shorter treatment schedule with these medications. Don’t feel like you have to take the medication if you are unsure of its necessity.
As long as you are open and honest with your doctor and you try to avoid taking these medications more than necessary, you should be able to safely avoid dependence and addiction. However, even if you take opioids as prescribed for more than a few weeks, you will become dependent. This can easily cause abuse and other issues.