Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae, Acting Gloucester County Prosecutor Christine Hoffman, and Salem County Prosecutor Kristin Telsey recently announced at a joint press event hosted at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill, an initiative to fight the statewide opioid epidemic by teaming up with Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) to provide scholarships for opioid prescribing education to healthcare providers within each of their counties.
“Prescribed opioids continue to be a factor on the drug harm index in our region, especially in Salem County,” said Telsey. “We are always looking for opportunities to leverage our resources when it comes to opioid education and substance abuse prevention.”
Each prosecutor’s office is awarding scholarships for prescribers within their county to participate in PDFNJ’s Safe Prescription continuing medical education course entitled, “Do No Harm: Exploring Strategies for Safer Prescribing of Opioids.” The course is specifically tailored for healthcare professionals including 1) doctors of medicine, 2) doctors of osteopathic medicine, 3) dentists, 4) nurse practitioners, 5) physician assistants, 6) nurses, 7) residents, 8) fellows and, 9) medical students.
“This unique approach, providing continuing medical education to prescribers is a natural intersection for law enforcement and the medical community,” said Hoffman. “The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has been a trusted ally in our ongoing battle against opioid abuse affecting Gloucester residents.”
PDFNJ’s accredited online course features medical, law enforcement, and legal experts discussing the impact of the opioid epidemic on New Jersey and providing the most updated information on how to prescribe opioids safely and responsibly to patients. The curriculum also fulfills New Jersey’s continuing education requirement that prescribers must complete to renew their licenses to reduce the risk of addiction and accumulation of opioids in the household medicine cabinets.
“Each of our offices play a pivotal role fighting the opioid epidemic through both community engagement and education,” said Webb-McRae. “Southern counties in New Jersey continue to have much higher opioid prescription rates per capita than our Central and North Jersey counterparts according to the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program. As such we hope this training becomes a catalyst for lowering prescription rates in the seemingly never-ending battle against opioid abuse in our area.”
“Educating medical professionals on the risks and proper ways to treat pain and prescribe opioids is crucial to combatting the opioid epidemic our state and country are facing,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “This initiative has been pivotal in forging a powerful alliance among the medical community, law enforcement, and prevention organizations, effectively shattering traditional silos to foster a united and effective front. Prosecutors Webb-McRae, Hoffman, and Telsey continue to bring innovation from prevention and recovery programs to engaging the broader community on public safety. These three Prosecutor’s Offices have emerged as leaders in this fight. Now, by making prescriber education more accessible to providers in the county, their offices provide a vital prevention opportunity to positively impact residents throughout the region.”
Background on this issue and the accredited curriculum are accessible through the website, drugfreenj.org/TriCountySafeRx.