MILLBURN, N.J., April 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study has found that the Patient Notification Act, a New Jersey law that requires medical practitioners to discuss the addictive potential of opioid-based painkillers with their patients (and parents of minors), and to also discuss a safer non-opioid alternative when available, is having a profound impact on the fight against the opioid epidemic.
The study of the law, which went into effect in 2017, was commissioned by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) and conducted by Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Medical Director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management.
According to Kolodny, the study showed very promising results, specifically that prior to the enactment only 18% of the participants warned patients about the risk of opioid addiction when prescribing opioids and after enactment, 95% routinely warned patients about the risk of addiction.
"We are very pleased with the results of the study," states Angelo Valente, PDFNJ's Executive Director. "PDFNJ spearheaded and advocated for the passage of this Act in New Jersey and are pleased that it has become a major tool curbing the opioid epidemic and helping patients and their families have the tools they need to make informed decisions regarding prescription opioids."
- The number of patients prescribed opioids for acute pain decreased significantly after the law went into effect. The aspect of the law likely to have been responsible for this change was the mandatory warning about the risk of addiction. In the month after the law was implemented nearly 5000 fewer patients were started on opioids.
- The number of clinicians who prescribed opioids for acute pain dropped by more than 1000 after the law went into effect.
- Nearly all prescribers (97.5%) were aware of the new opioid prescribing rules.
- Prior to enactment, only 18% of the participants warned patients about the risk of opioid addiction when prescribing opioids. After enactment, 95% routinely warned patients about the risk of addiction.
According to Kolodny said, "These findings show that very few opioid prescribers were warning patients about the risk of addiction before New Jersey required them to do so, and since the law was enacted the results speak for themselves."
PDFNJ also worked with The Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll to evaluate the impact the Patient Notification Act had from the patient's perspective. According to Rich Higginson, Director of Consumer Research, Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, "On the positive side, more patients report their doctors are making them aware of the risks of opioids and alternatives than prior to the passage of the law, in 2017."
New Jersey was the first state in the nation to enact the Patient Notification Act and it is now replicated in 17 other states and continues to be the model law in the country.
Interview opportunities are available upon request
Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $100 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership's New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey's history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.
SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey