Health Comm. to focus on problem of opioid addictions

TRENTON – Sen. Joe Vitale hopes to shine a light Thursday on the extent of opioid addictions.

His Health, Human Service and Senior Citizens Committee will take testimony on issues regarding prevention of, treatment of and recovery from opioid addictions.

“It was inspired,’’ he said Wednesday, “by the many reports over the last several months about this, as a consequence it’s become a significant health crisis.”

Legislation will follow, he said, but first they want to hear what expert witnesses have to say about prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“For many, it’s a personal family crisis,’’ Vitale said.

The public may not hear about it until stories are reported such as one several weeks ago when a physician was charged with allegedly operating a so-called “pill mill, writing illegal prescriptions,’’ Vitale said.

Earlier this year, the State Commission of Investigations issued a report on the problem, and that dealt primarily with the criminal aspects of the growing problem.

That report dealt with the link between corrupt doctors and those addicted to substances such as heroin, but it also talked of the matter becoming a public health crisis.

Thursday’s Senate hearing will be more targeted toward treatment of those suffering from substance abuses.

“We want to listen to experts on the ways in which we can work with prevention, treatment and recovery,’’ Vitale said.

Earlier story:

SCI officials say pill mill report shows extent of problem Health Comm. to focus on problem of opioid addictions