NORTHFIELD — In a show of solidarity with two Atlantic County lawmakers, City Council approved a resolution in support of an Assembly bill that calls for more thorough labeling of all opioid medication prescribed in New Jersey.
The bill, A3292, is sponsored by Assemblymen John Armato and Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, and was introduced in February. It calls for pharmacists to attach the boldly colored labels to all opioid prescription bottles. The labels, which would feature a red background and large, white print, would not only identify specific medications such as opioids but would also make abundantly clear the risks of taking such medication, including their highly addictive properties.
Northfield approved the resolution unanimously.
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“I couldn’t believe this wasn’t already a thing,” Councilman Frank Perri said.
Efforts to curb opioid abuse have largely received bipartisan support at all levels of government. On Tuesday, Atlantic County Freeholder Caren Fitzpatrick used the public comment portion of Northfield’s council meeting to thank the council for their support of the Assembly bill. A generation of young people have been lost to the opioid crisis she said, noting that larger ramifications from the ongoing epidemic will continue to be felt for years.
We’re losing an entire decade of our kids and the problem can’t be abated without broader support, she said.
It’s a cause that’s close to Fitzpatrick. The freeholder lost a son to a 10-year struggle with addiction.
“Even if before drugs get a hold of someone and twist their brain, if they see a warning label on a bottle, they might say, ‘Hey, you know, maybe this isn’t such a good idea,’” she said.
Councilwoman Susan Korngut requested the resolution and said she’s been looking for ways to help with the problem, including keeping up with law enforcement and local schools. In a post on her Facebook page, Korngut said the problem is widespread.
“Most everyone I know has been or knows someone who has been impacted by the opioid crisis,” she wrote.