SENATE, No. 52

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† ROBERT W. SINGER

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

Senator† LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Corrado and Gopal

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes local drug overdose fatality review teams in each county in State.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

††


An Act regarding drug overdoses and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† a. The Local Advisory Committee on Alcohol Use Disorder and Substance Use Disorder in each county shall establish a local drug overdose fatality review team for that county.† A local drug overdose fatality review team may serve one or more counties where practicable.† Each local drug overdose fatality review team shall elect a chair to administer a process of review and enact and implement a standard protocol for the collection and maintenance of data that shall be consistent with all teams.† The Commissioner of Human Services shall make available to local drug overdose fatality review teams such funding as may be appropriate to enable the teams to undertake the duties required under this section, which may include, but shall not be limited to, funding sufficient to allow each team to employ appropriate full-time and part-time personnel as may be necessary.

†††† b.††† Local drug overdose fatality review teams shall consist of individuals with experience and knowledge regarding health, social services, law enforcement, education, emergency medicine, mental health, juvenile delinquency, and drug and alcohol abuse.

†††† c.†††† The Commissioner of Health shall develop a mandatory drug overdose death reporting process, pursuant to which health care practitioners, medical examiners, hospitals, emergency medical services providers, local health departments, law enforcement agencies, substance use disorder treatment programs, and relevant social services agencies will be required to confidentially report cases of drug overdose death to the Department of Health in a standardized, uniform format.

†††† d.††† The department shall transmit to the appropriate local drug overdose fatality review team such information as the department has available concerning any drug overdose that occurs within the county served by the local drug overdose fatality review team, including, but not limited to: the individualís age, race, gender, county of residence, and county of death; and the date, manner, cause, and specific circumstances of the overdose death, as recorded on the individualís completed death certificate.† In addition, the team may be provided access to the following records related to the individual:

†††† (1)†† any relevant information and records maintained by a health care provider related to the individualís physical health, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment, if the individualís next of kin or authorized representative consents to the release of the information or records; and

†††† (2)† any relevant information and records maintained by a State or local government agency, including criminal history records and records of probation and parole, medical examiner records, social service records, and school records and educational histories, if the individualís next of kin or authorized representative consents to the release of the information or records.

†††† e.†††† Upon receipt of a report of drug overdose death that has been forwarded to a local drug overdose death fatality review team pursuant to subsection d. of this section, the team shall review the reported case in accordance with the provisions of subsection f. of this section.

†††† f.† Each local drug overdose fatality review team shall:

†††† (1)†† develop methods to help prevent drug overdoses;

†††† (2)†† explore methods to promote cooperation among multi-disciplinary agencies in providing services to individuals with substance use disorders;

†††† (3)†† develop an understanding of the causes of drug overdoses;

†††† (4)†† recommend possible changes to law and policy to prevent drug overdoses; and

†††† (5)†† meet at least quarterly to review drug overdose death cases transmitted to the team pursuant to this section, as well as available criminal, educational, substance abuse, and mental health records of the deceased individuals.† Local drug overdose fatality review team meetings shall be closed to the public.

†††† g.† As used in this section:

†††† "Drug overdose" means an acute condition including, but not limited to, physical illness, coma, mania, hysteria, or death resulting from the consumption or use of a controlled dangerous substance or another substance with which a controlled dangerous substance was combined and that a layperson would reasonably believe to require medical assistance.

 

†††† 2.††† Names and individual identification data collected pursuant to the provisions of this act shall not be disclosed by the Department of Health or a local drug overdose fatality review team member unless required by law, and nothing in this act shall be construed to require disclosure of any private or confidential health information in violation of State or federal privacy laws.† Notwithstanding the foregoing, State and local government agencies are directed to share, upon request by a local drug overdose fatality review team, and, in the case of confidential or personal identifying information, with the consent of the next of kin or authorized representative of the individual who is the subject of the information or record, such information or records as may be necessary and appropriate for the local drug overdose fatality review team to conduct a review of reported drug overdose deaths pursuant to section 1 of this act.

†††† 3.††† The Department of Health shall adopt rules and regulations, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to implement the provisions of this act.

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill requires the Commissioner of Health (commissioner) to establish local drug overdose fatality review teams for each county in this State.

†††† The local drug overdose fatality review teams will be established by the Local Advisory Committee on Alcohol Use Disorder and Drug Use Disorder in each county.

†††† Under the bill, local drug overdose fatality review teams would consist of individuals with experience and knowledge regarding health, social services, law enforcement, education, emergency medicine, mental health, juvenile delinquency, and drug and alcohol abuse.

†††† The bill provides that the commissioner would be required to develop a mandatory reporting process for health care practitioners, medical examiners, hospitals, emergency medical services providers, local health departments, law enforcement agencies, substance use disorder treatment programs, and relevant social services agencies to confidentially report to the Department of Health (DOH) on individual cases of drug overdose death.

†††† The Commissioner of Human Services is to make appropriate funding available to drug overdose fatality review teams to enable the teams to carry out their duties under the bill, including providing sufficient funding to allow the teams to hire necessary and appropriate personnel.

†††† The bill provides that the DOH is to develop a uniform, standardized reporting process for drug overdose deaths, and forward certain information concerning each drug overdose death to the appropriate local drug overdose fatality review team, including certain personal details concerning the overdose victim and certain particulars concerning the circumstances of the overdose victimís death.† Local drug overdose fatality review teams will also be provided access to certain health treatment records and government records concerning the overdose victim, if the victimís next of kin or authorized representative consents to the team being provided access to this information.†

†††† The bill directs State and local government agencies to share records and information concerning an overdose victim with a drug overdose fatality review team upon request, provided that the victimís next of kin or authorized representative consents to disclosure of any information that may not be shared without consent, including confidential and personal identifying information.