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Statement by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli in Regard to new CDC Guidelines

(March 24, 2016) - The statement below is by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli in regard to the new CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain

On behalf of the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force, I commend President Barack Obama and the CDC for the new lifesaving guidelines that were announced on March 15th.  For far too many, the gateway to addiction is legally obtained through prescription medication by a physician or dentist.

The over-prescription of opioid drugs by medical professionals in this country needs to be curtailed in order to have a meaningful impact on this epidemic. The Freeholder Board understands that this is an issue that touches every street and neighborhood in our community and we will continue to support and take action at all levels of government to battle the scourge of heroin and opioid addiction that has touched so many families across our nation.

Furthermore, as a Task Force we already started educating doctors, nurses and pharmacists at a seminar in Collingswood a couple weeks ago on these new guidelines prior to the announcement. Among the 12 recommendations in the guidelines, three principles are key to improving patient care and were taught on March 2 to area medical professionals by Joseph Ranieri, Medical Director of Seabrook House:

  1. Non-opioid therapy is preferred for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care.
  2. When opioids are used, the lowest possible effective dosage should be prescribed to reduce risks of opioid use disorder and overdose.
  3. Providers should always exercise caution when prescribing opioids and monitor all patients closely.

As a governing body and Task Force we believe in a global approach to combating addiction, which means advocating for treatment and innovative treatment methods like Operation SAL, supporting new guidelines for prescription narcotics, providing disposal facilities for prescriptions and educating the public on the dangers of opioids.