TRENTON, N.J. –Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney pressed state Attorney General Chris Porrino on Wednesday at a hearing before the Assembly Budget Committee on the funding for police body cameras and a possible loophole to the new law setting a five-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions.
Rooney, who substituted for Assemblyman Anthony Bucco on the committee, questioned if state funding to outfit local police departments with body-worn cameras was adequate. He noted that an estimated $2.5 million was given to 176 of approximately 500 local police agencies for more than 5,000 body cameras.
“Coming from a local town where I was mayor and served as police commissioner over six years, I know there is a great need for those cameras,” said Rooney (R-Bergen), who was a Wyckoff Township committeeman from 2010 to 2016. “It seems very difficult to get on that list and outfit local police departments.”
Rooney also stated that while the Legislature and Governor have taken the first of many steps to combat the sweeping opioid epidemic, there is still much more that legislators can do. He shared a personal story about receiving multiple prescriptions for painkillers over a two week span after receiving emergency surgery 2 months ago.
“My concern is that something should be added to the new law that a prescription that isn’t completely used up must be returned before you can get a new prescription,” said Rooney after highlighting a possible loophole in the new law restricting opioid prescriptions. “Even speaking with physicians that I met over that period of time, I raised those concerns with this pending law.”
Based on studies, the opioid epidemic is the result of the over-prescribing of highly addictive pain medication. Once addicted on painkillers, individuals have moved on to more accessible street choices such as heroin.
“I call upon my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to allocate additional funding to combat this broad and sweeping epidemic,“ concluded Rooney.