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Legal & Regulatory

NJ Opioid Prescribing Law: FAQs

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New Jersey has one of the toughest opioid prescribing laws in the country. It took effect last year and places new restrictions on how practitioners may prescribe opioids and other Schedule II controlled substances.

Many practitioners continue to have questions about the new requirements, so here’s a list of frequently asked questions:

Which providers are subject to the new law?

Physicians, physician assistants, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, certified nurse midwives or advanced practice nurses authorized to prescribe controlled substances.

What are the prescribing restrictions on initial opioid prescriptions?

When a patient is first prescribed opioids to treat acute pain, such as after surgery or extensive dental work, the prescription must be:  

What is considered an “initial” prescription?

An initial prescription means that the patient hasn’t had a prescription for that medication (or a pharmaceutical equivalent) within the past year.

What documentation is required for initial opioid prescriptions?

The physician do and document the following:

Can the initial prescription be renewed?

Yes, but only after four days or more, and only for a 30 day-supply or less.

Prior to issuing any subsequent prescription, the practitioner must assess the patient and document why the refill is necessary and why it doesn’t present an undue risk of abuse.

If a third prescription order is necessary, the practitioner must follow the requirements for chronic opioid use (see below).  

What are the requirements for prescribing opioids to patients with chronic acute pain?

Practitioners perform and document the following:  

What qualifies as a “Pain Management Agreement?”

The “pain management agreement” is a written contract executed between the practitioner and the patient, prior to treating chronic pain with a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance or any other prescription opioid drug.

The agreement must:

What types of patients or situations are exempt?

The following are exempt:

When are practitioners required to review Prescription Monitoring Program data?

Practitioners must access prescription monitoring information at the following points:

What type of Continuing Education is required?  

Physicians, physician assistants, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, professional nurses, practical nurses and certified nurse midwives must complete one continuing education credit related to prescribing opioid drugs safely.  

The credit is part of the existing 100 hours for biennial license renewal and will be effective for the 2017-2019 renewal.