December 15, 2017 | Number of The Day
Percentage of NJ households prescribed opioid painkillers in past year

As if to underline the reach of opioids in the Garden State, the latest New Jersey Health and Well-Being Poll by the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy finds that 31 percent of New Jersey households were prescribed opioid painkillers within the past year — and one-third of those say they plan to keep leftover painkillers in case of future need.

The rate of opioid prescription ranges from a high of 46 percent of households in southeastern New Jersey to a low of 22 percent in the northeast, the poll found.

“The commonplace nature of prescription opioids puts many thousands in New Jersey at risk of abuse, addiction or worse,” said Joel Cantor, director of the center. He cautioned that the poll’s findings may, in fact, understate the extent to which families hold on to opioids — “as many people know they are not supposed to keep leftover drugs and may be reticent to admit it to telephone interviewers.”