Report calls for tougher regulations to stop opioid overprescription by New Jersey doctors

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by Heygood Orr and Pearson

Doctors in New Jersey may face stricter regulations for prescribing opioid painkillers to patients following the release of a new report detailing how these drugs are frequently overprescribed by medical professionals. The report, which was prepared by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation (SCI), found that the overprescription of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone by unscrupulous doctors has led to an epidemic of opioid abuse.

The SCI investigation uncovered cases in which numerous Medicaid recipients were given unnecessary painkiller prescriptions in order to deceive the government health insurance agency. In another case, a medical office was used as a warehouse where hundreds of thousands of prescription painkillers were stored.

The SCI called for the state of New Jersey to enact tougher restrictions on the prescription and sale of opioid painkillers so that doctors who fraudulently prescribe these drugs can be held accountable for their actions. The agency also proposed laws that would: (1) require periodic follow-up evaluations to make sure that patients are not prescribed too many painkiller medications and (2) impose tough financial penalties on doctors who overprescribe opioids or divert these prescriptions to other patients.

Patients who are prescribed opioid painkillers such as fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, or hydrocodone at excessive doses may be at risk of overdose or dependency. Patients who have been injured as a result of opioid overprescription by a doctor may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against these medical professionals for the injuries they have suffered. Hundreds of wrongful death lawsuits have been filed by the families of patients who died from inappropriate opioid prescriptions.