In their fight against prescription drug abuse, New Jersey officials can't only focus on the addicts, but also the professionals who end up putting the narcotics in the hands of people who don't really need them.

Steve C. Lee, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (Townsquare Media)

During the launch of New Jersey's "Addiction Does Not Discriminate" awareness campaign, it was announced that over the past 10 months, the state attorney general has gone after the licenses of approximately 27 doctors, three pharmacists, and four pharmacies that engaged in the indiscriminate prescribing and dispensing of controlled dangerous substances.

Steve C. Lee, acting director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, said this type of action is necessary in New Jersey's battle with opiate abuse.

"The Division knows that the vast, vast majority of New Jersey's 61,000 prescribers and pharmacists serve their patients with honesty, integrity and great care," Lee said. "However, when a small minority of these healthcare professionals succumb to greed and violate their commitment to protect the public's health, we work to put them out of practice."

Lee also announced the expansion of the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP), which has served as a powerful tool in the effort to take down so-called pill mills and doctor shoppers.

The NJPMP is now actively sharing data with Connecticut, meaning licensed professionals in both states can see their patients' medication histories and whether or not they're abusing the system.

"Before long, we expect to make this type of direct data sharing available with other states and eventually the entire region," Lee said.