Listen Christie, We Need Real Drug Reform

I don’t care  about what Governor Christie said today. I don’t care how proud he is about signing two bills into law that are more of the same ineffective drug policies. Our reality still remains true; there are tens of thousands of opiate addicts in New Jersey, and counting.

Look. At. The. Data.

This reality is not to describe an inadequacy in the will-power of New Jersey’s people. It isn’t like 32,874 New Jersey residents fell weak to peer pressure in 2013. It isn’t like all of those people chose to start a daily regime of oxycodone or heroin, but rather, they may have been prescribed a potentially lethal dose of addiction by their doctor. New Jersey faces this exponentially growing epidemic because of how often opiate pain killers and muscle relaxers are prescribed, and in massive amounts. Also, we face this issue because of the ailments they are prescribed for.

As an example, you can have your wisdom teeth removed. Boom, oxycodone.  You can fall down the stairs. Boom, percocet. For these types of injuries, the doctors are responsible for taking away the pain. But is it still a best practice to prescribe a drug that is so out in the open for forcing so many of its users into addiction? I do not think so.

All of these opiates and muscle relaxers were prescribed for one single back injury.
All of these opiates and muscle relaxers were prescribed for one single back injury.

I had a back injury that resulted in 80 days worth of prescription opiate drugs and muscle relaxers. I was given oxycodone, morphine shots in the hospital, tramadol, diazepam, cyclobenzeprene, and percocet. If I hadn’t started physical therapy as soon as I did, who knows, maybe I would have become an addict. The point is, I never should have been given an 80 day opportunity to have addiction become my reality. The pain was going to go away eventually. Why was addiction such a possible side effect of my treatment? (Disclaimer: All of the remaining pills have been properly disposed of and are no longer in my possession)

Today, Governor Christie stood before the media and announced how proud he is over New Jersey’s progress with combating addiction. Honestly, there isn’t much progress to be proud of when the administration has needed to pass special legislation which has allowed 911 responders and civilians to administer narcan, a heroin antidote. The Governor expressed how proud he is to have signed legislation that seeks to, “identify, investigate, and prosecute illegal sources and distribution of opiate drugs”.

We don’t need more prosecution. The problem is not concerned so much with illegal activities. Why, though, would it even make sense to charge a patient, who technically is having an adverse reaction to medication, as a criminal for falling into a prescribed addiction? The drugs are coming from the doctors and the pharmacists before they enter the secretive black market. This is happening because it is currently an approved practice of medicine, and opiate drug prescription seems to be the only method of treating temporary pain.

We need to start demanding our legislators to allow our doctors to treat temporary pain with methods that won’t lead to a possible addiction. We need to hold doctors and pharmacists accountable for limiting the given quantities of these drugs.

We need medicinal marijuana to be taken much, much more seriously. Marijuana is a significantly less addictive substance than opiate drugs.

We need medicinal marijuana to be more widely and readily available. Right now, there are only three operating dispensaries in the entire state. 

We can no longer allow the personal political opinions of our Governor to prevent patients from safely getting the help that they need.

For real, watch the following trailer about real, New Jersey citizens.

“I think it’s more suburban girls in the streets right now than Camden girls.”


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