WHO’S TO BLAME FOR THE OPIOID CRISIS?

We read about it every day.

New Jersey is now about to get in people’s business by giving law enforcement the right to dig through patient pharmaceutical records.

And before you say, “but we have to do “SOMETHING!!!” think about when this began getting very bad.

Go on.

Yeah, around 2008.

What happened in 2008? Obama-Care.

That’s where millions of people were now made eligible for medicaid…..and that’s all that was needed for these same people, already many the dregs of society, to get fake prescriptions.

New Jersey is the latest state amid a national opioid crisis to consider allowing police and law enforcement officials to access its prescription drug monitoring database without a court order, pitting patient rights to privacy against the government’s ability to investigate so-called doctor shopping.

Republican state Sen. Robert Singer introduced the legislation Tuesday after discussions with a county prosecutor, arguing that the legislation will help officials target physicians who might be illicitly prescribing powerful prescription medications.

“We are in a crisis in this country, and when you’re in a crisis form, you have to take certain actions,” Singer said. “This action is another tool in their arsenal.”

But the legislation faces powerful opponents in New Jersey, chiefly Republican Gov. Chris Christie who says he’s opposed to the idea.

Nationally, the number of deaths from opioid drugs topped 30,000 in 2015, nearly double the rate from a decade ago, according to the National Institutes for Health. Across the country, states have implemented prescription drug monitoring databases that allow pharmacists, doctors and law enforcement to track who may be giving out too many controlled substances.

The proposed law in New Jersey comes as states across the country are grappling with how much leeway to give officials and law enforcement when it comes to examining the databases. In Rhode Island, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimnondo a new law similar to Singer’s proposal.

In California, the Supreme Court ruled recently that the state Medical Board can dig through prescription drug records without a warrant or subpoena.

Christie has made addressing the state and nation’s opioid epidemic his top priority, including chairing a White House commission on the crisis. A video showing him discussing a friend with an addiction to opioid painkillers was the moment during his failed presidential campaign that most connected with voters.

Christie put his opposition to the new bill in constitutional terms, saying that he doesn’t want prosecutors to “troll that stuff.”

“You shouldn’t just be able to look at it for jollies,” said Christie, whose anti-opioid commission is set to publish an interim report by the end of July after its release was delayed by more than a month. “If you have a case and you have some probable cause, OK that’s fine. Go to a court and get a judge to give you permission to look at that information.”

Other opponents have privacy concerns about the New Jersey proposal. Roseanne Scotti, state director of the nonprofit nonpartisan Drug Policy Alliance, says allowing broader access sets the state down a “slippery slope” toward privacy erosion.

“Broadly allowing local police to look into people’s private medical records without a warrant or reasonable suspicion is appalling,” Scotti said.

Singer says he’s heard from New Jersey prosecutors who say they need the tool and that the privacy concerns are overblown compared to the effects of the opioid crisis.

“Talk about things being tracked. E-ZPass, Amazon, your phone. Everything is being tracked today,” he said. “The world has changed on privacy.”

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni inspired Singer to write the bill, according to Singer, who’s been in the Senate since 1993.

Gramiccioni says the legislation would loosen restrictions for the collection and analysis of valuable information in the database.

Singer also added that his bill would require officials to “certify” that they are engaged in a specific investigation, cutting back on concerns about fishing investigations.

“It’s not a hostile thing but the governor’s wrong,” he said.

Christie, a former U.S. attorney, didn’t rule out looking more closely at the bill if it gets to his desk, but said that as a prosecutor he’s opposed to it.

“Prosecutions work best when you actually have facts. If you’ve got enough facts to be able to look at the prescription monitoring program then go to a court and prove that,” he said.

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7 Responses to WHO’S TO BLAME FOR THE OPIOID CRISIS?

  1. bogsidebunny says:

    Christie says he’s opposed to the law. Ha, I bet the fat Rhino will sign the bill.

  2. BobF says:

    Doctors hold a lot of the blame. My mom got hooked on these. Her doctor would give her two prescriptions. One for a pharmacy where she would use her insurance and the other for a different pharmacy where she would pay cash. Although when confronted, he would never admit it, we found the bottles from different pharmacies with him on the label as the prescribing doctor. Being addicted, my mom would not go against her doctor and defended him.

  3. redneckgeezer says:

    After five different spinal surgeries, I’ve taken this crap enough to last me more than a lifetime. Thankfully, I have always understood how serious this stuff is when it comes to screwing me up. I’ve never gotten hooked on the stuff and never will. It takes some education and a bit of common sense, but for me, they are the only thing that has ever been helpful for pain. If I keep up my exercise regimen and stay active, I don’t need this stuff. If I get lazy and play couch potato, pain sneeks in and wants to stay, but I completely understand how somebody could become dependent on them. I’m with Bob when it comes to blaming the doctor. At the very least they should sit down with you and discuss the ramifications of using pain meds. Writing two prescriptions is another story. That guy should lose his license to practice medicine.

  4. dekare says:

    I have to disagree with any law that makes it more difficult to get narcotic pain medication. People blame the doctors and the drug companies, but the fact is, what is the doctor supposed to do? He has to either believe his patients when they tell them they are in pain or he has to believe they are a drug seeker looking to get high. Which one is the right answer? If the doctor guesses wrong, he has sentenced some poor soul to a life of misery and hell. So, do we play it safe, and harm innocent people who need pain management in order to live a someone normal life just to save some asshole who wants to abuse the system just so he or she can get high. Who deserves the protection the most?

    In a society that our Founding Fathers gave us, we have the freedom to pursue happiness. Some pursue success, and some pursue getting high. If we start clamping down on those that want to get high, then we are removing their freedom. And for what, all in the name of protecting someone from themselves. Sounds like something a nanny state would do.

    What is truly sad is that in order to protect people from themselves, we have to harm those that actually NEED pain drugs in order to live a somewhat normal life. And if the drug addict who doesn’t actually NEED these pain drugs cannot get them from a doctor, he will get them through some illegal means, and end up harming themselves anyway. But what about the law abiding person who is denied pain drugs. He is not the type to buy them illegally on the street. So, he is made to suffer. And for what. For the purpose of saving some scumbag who will only find another way to get high and maybe eventually kill himself anyway.

    Some regulations are reasonable, but we need to face the fact that in order to help the majority of people who rely on pain management and drugs to maintain a decent life, some assholes are going to end up dead due to overdoes. Hey, were all grown ups here, and if you off yourself, that is on you. To blame the doctor is bullshit. You can no more blame the doctor than you could a knife salesman who sold the knife that someone used to kill themselves. Or the bartender who sold you the bottle of booze that you used to drink yourself to death. Or the gun dealer who sold you the gun that the 2d Amendment says you are allowed to buy.

    In society, you either have absolute freedom, or you have a nanny state. You cannot protect everyone and still give everyone freedom. If people kill themselves, it’s sad, but that is the price that is paid for freedom. People need to be responsible and held accountable for their actions. If some asshole overdosed on oxycontin, that is not the fault of the doctor, the drug company, the pharmacy, or the govt. It is the fault of that individual alone. And if protecting him, means we have to take freedom away from innocent people, than it should not be done. It makes no sense to ruin the lives of thousands of innocent law abiding people just so we can save the few that are morons and are determined to do themselves in no matter what obstacle is put in their way. Don’t take away my freedom from pain in order to save some asshole who deserves the end result of their wrongdoing.

    You either believe in responsibility and freedom, or you don’t. There is no middle ground here.

  5. Eskyman says:

    Well said, dekare.

    My sentiments exactly. In a free country, any adult is fully in charge of their own life (or should be.)

    The Founding Fathers didn’t have permits for their weapons or prescriptions from their doctors to buy drugs. They would have been incredulous that free men would have to beg for things so basic to survival from a Government, and would have firmly opposed such a notion.

    We used to be a country of self-reliant people; now we’re a nanny state, rapidly becoming a police state. It’s time for the pendulum to swing back the other way!

  6. B Woodman says:

    If the dregs want to abuse the system and opioids, let ’em. But at the same time, don’t provide any extreme lifesaving measures when they have an OD. Let ’em die. Save money by providing a cremation and a simple funeral in an urn. Why should my tax dollars be wasted?

  7. dekare says:

    There is a fine line between protecting people and tyranny. At what point does the protection gained outweigh the loss of freedom?

    Just look at the law of having to wear your seatbelt. It some cases and in certain states, it can be as high as $200. I am willing to bet that not many people are thankful to the govt for helping save their lives when writing out a check for an amount that high.

    Now can anyone honestly tell me that the state is charging this amount in order to “save me from myself” or is it all about the money? Where do we draw the line? And how do you argue against this, when if you do, you are faced with “saving the children” and who could possibly against saving babies.

    To me, it seems more like an exercise in social engineering. Almost every law these days is created for the sole purpose of control over We The People and/or the filling of govt coffers with our hard earned money…not saving us. We’re all adults, but our govt doesn’t notice or care. Or, have they lumped us responsible adults in with the dregs of society and third world leeches who need to be told what to do as they are incapable of thinking for themselves, supporting themselves, or raising children who can break the cycle of crime, drugs and poverty.

    And if that last one holds any truth, than I can think of no better reason to keep certain people out of this country. America is NOT for everyone. It requires a moral and just people who know right from wrong and take responsibility for their actions. Very few people in certain demographics or from certain countries seem to possess this, but we let them in anyway. This only adds to the decay of what our Founding Fathers planned for us. And so, laws are made for idiots and scumbags that are not needed for We The People, but we are crushed under the weight of them, because our govt is unable to separate the good from the bad…all under the idea of political correctness. punish everyone so some shithead isn’t made to feel picked on or singled out. And that in a nutshell is liberalism. Treat everyone like a child so that those that really need it, don’t get offended.

    As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    My question is…How long are we going to stand by and watch our country turned into a liberal third-world hellhole?

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