The state attorney general is adding enforcement personnel to the Division of Consumer Affairs’ campaign to stop prescription drug abuse in New Jersey.
NorthJersey.com reports that the Division has announced the addition of two investigators to its drug-diversion section, which handles undercover investigations. The pharmacy-inspection division has added four people, and the health care unit has added three members.
Earlier in January, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced a prescription-monitoring program with a database to New Jersey pharmacies that would allow officers to track prescription purchases deemed as suspicious or unusual trends. The data can identify those who obtain dangerous prescription drugs to abuse or resell on the street. The database program cost $244,000, and will run about $177,000 to maintain, but much of that cost is being paid for by a federal grant.
Thomas R. Calcagni, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said that the Enforcement Bureau completed 64 investigations into alleged drug abuse activity and theft of prescription blanks in 2011, according to njtoday.net. The division is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct from the 47 professional licensing boards that regulate 500,000 licensed and registered health care professionals throughout New Jersey.
According to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of admissions to substance abuse treatment programs in New Jersey climbed to 7,238 in 2010, a 230 percent increase from 2005. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 40 Americans die every day from the abuse of prescription painkillers.