Senator† ROBERT M. GORDON
District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)
Senator† SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
†††† Urges school districts and nonpublic schools to adopt policy to address abuse of prescription opioids by students.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
†††† As introduced.
A Senate Resolution urging school districts and nonpublic schools to adopt a policy to address the abuse of prescription opioids by students.
Whereas, The nonmedical use of prescription opioids among adolescents has been a growing health concern over the last decade.† Prescription opioids are pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl; and
Whereas, Several factors are likely to be contributing to the severity of the current prescription opioid problem, including the drastic increase in the number of prescriptions for these medications which have been written and dispensed.† The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007; and
Whereas, According to a study by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 12 percent of male athletes and 8 percent of female athletes have been prescribed opioids in the last 12 months; and
Whereas, In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult his own bottle of pills; and
Whereas, The greater availability of prescription opioids has been accompanied by an alarming increase in their abuse.† The public health consequences of opioid pain reliever abuse have been broad and disturbing; and
Whereas, In 2012, over five percent of the United States population aged 12 years or older used opioid pain relievers non-medically.† Studies have also shown that about a third of young people abusing prescription opioids obtain pills from their own previous prescriptions, and 83 percent of adolescents were permitted to have unsupervised access to their prescription medications; and
Whereas, The estimated number of emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of opioid analgesics has increased from 144,600 in 2004 to 305,900 in 2008, and overdose deaths due to prescription opioid pain relievers have more than tripled in the past 20 years, escalating to 16,651 deaths in the United States in 2010; and
Whereas, Another critical concern is the rise in new populations of heroin users, particularly young people, as abusers of prescription opioids are shifting to heroin as prescription drugs become less available or harder to abuse; and
Whereas, According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 80 percent of heroin users begin using heroin after abusing narcotic painkillers; and
Whereas, On May 2, 2016, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Medical Advisory Committee recommended that school districts adopt a policy to address student abuse of prescription opioids; and
Whereas, The adoption of such a policy could prove to be a critical component in the battle against the opioid abuse epidemic as schools can play a vital role in educating students on the dangers of opioid addiction and under existing State law may refer students for appropriate interventions; now, therefore,
†††† Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:
†††† 1.††† This House urges school districts and nonpublic schools to adopt a policy, as suggested by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Medical Advisory Committee, to address the abuse of prescription opioids by students that includes: notification to the school nurse by the studentís parent or guardian if an opioid medication has been prescribed; and drug monitoring if the student demonstrates any signs or symptoms that raise the possibility of opioid abuse during or beyond the duration of the prescription.
†††† 2.††† Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to the State Board of Education to be distributed to each school district and nonpublic school.
†††† This Senate resolution urges school districts and nonpublic schools to adopt a policy, as suggested by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Medical Advisory Committee, to address the abuse of prescription opioids by students.† The policy would include: notification to the school nurse by the studentís parent or guardian if an opioid medication has been prescribed; and drug monitoring if the student demonstrates any signs or symptoms that raise the possibility of opioid abuse during or beyond the duration of the prescription.† The resolution will be distributed by the State Board of Education to all public and nonpublic schools.
†††† Abuse of prescription opioids among adolescents is a growing health concern.† School districts and nonpublic schools can play a critical role in addressing this problem through the adoption of targeted policies.