TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey has adopted strong, new rules on opioid prescriptions and mandated insurance coverage for those addicted to painkillers.
Governor Chris Christie asked for these changes in last month’s State of the State message, and got them in short order. In fact, he signed them into law shortly after the State Assembly overwhelmingly approved the package. The State Senate had done so earlier in the week.
The idea here? Make help available and make sure people know about it.
“Addiction is not a moral failing. It is a disease,” Christie said after a public signing ceremony in his Trenton office. “And the more that we talk about it as a disease, treat it as a disease, regulate it as a disease the more people will finally get the idea that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. But it is in fact a sign of strength.”
Insurance carriers are now required to pay for six months of drug treatment. Doctors are also limited to five-day initial prescriptions for opioid painkillers, down from 30. That limit does not cover patients with cancer or another terminal illnesses.