U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand brought her campaign to fight the scourge of opioid addiction and death to the City of Newburgh on Friday where she announced new legislation that will target the epidemic at one of its key sources: opioid pain medication prescriptions.
The newly introduced Preventing Overprescribing for Pain Act would require the CDC to impose guidelines and restrictions for the prescription of narcotic painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, better known by the names Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin, for acute pain management.
Gillibrand said although the CDC has regulations in place for the prescription of opioids to long-term pain management patients, they do not have them in place for those cases where a patient would receive a one-time prescription following a surgery or injury and that it is those cases that often times opens the door to addiction for people.
“Opioid addiction is destroying too many lives in the City of Newburgh; it’s tearing apart too many families in our rural communities and killing too many young men and women in our suburbs. Many of us have people we know and care about who were living perfectly normal, good lives; they got hurt or had a quick surgery and they developed an addiction with opioids,” said Gillibrand. “It’s time for Congress to act; too many New Yorkers are falling into the same pattern.”
James Conklin, executive director of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County, said he welcomes the senator’s new legislation because at this point, new ideas are necessary to solving the problem and getting people the help they need.
“We need legislation that changes how doctors prescribe. We need legislation that changes how treatment is applied. We need new policies. We need new treatment modalities. We need new ideas, frankly because we are in the midst of an epidemic,” said Conklin.
Collectively, officials, professionals and community members agree that the opioid problem is steadily increasing and are continuing to look for ways to prevent addiction, provide help to those that need it and save lives.