New Jersey Psychiatric Association

A District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association

Protecting New Jersey Patients
Oppose A2170
View List of Organizations Opposed

Oppose A2170




A2170 fails to require sufficient education and training and would place patients at risk.

  • Education and training are essential to providing quality care for patients. A2170 fails to mandate sufficient education and training and would place patients at risk.
  • 400 hours of didactic education to prescribe psychotropic medications is insufficient to ensure quality healthcare.
  • It is misleading to call 400 hours of training “a structured sequence of study in an organized program offering intensive didactic education.”
  • Prescribing psychotropic medications safely takes years to learn and cannot be taught in 400 hours.
  • Psychiatrists complete 8-10 years of intensive didactic and clinical education, along with intensive supervision during pre-medical courses, medical school, internship, residency and fellowship training.
  • The proposed legislation is vague, with unclear references to the standard for “relevant clinical experience sufficient to attain competency in psychopharmacologic treatment.”

The proposed legislation does not require any specialized training courses or clinical supervision in pediatrics, placing a very vulnerable population at risk.
Quality Patient Care Must Include a Comprehensive Evaluation

  • A2170 does not require adequate training for performing a comprehensive psychiatric and medical assessment.
  • Many psychiatric patients have pre-existing and co-existing medical conditions that complicate.
  • A patient’s psychiatric evaluation must include reviews of all body systems and an assessment of all medical conditions; many of which can masquerade as psychiatric illnesses to the untrained eye.
  • Even during the course of existing drug therapy, medical assessments are needed for maintenance of medication.

Psychologists, as non-physician prescribers, will not have the knowledge, training or clinical experience to understand the implications of pre-existing and co-existing medical conditions

  • A2170 Does Not Require Appropriate Regulatory Oversight
  • A2170 places oversight responsibility with the State Board of Psychological Examiners rather than the State Board of Medical Examiners.
  • Even the training requirements to be established after the bill passes are left to the Board of Psychological Examiners, rather than the State Board of Medical Examiners who govern the only other health professionals with the prescriptive authority provided in this legislation.

Only physicians, with their plenary training, have unlimited and independent prescriptive authority, and only the SBME has the expertise to regulate such far reaching responsibilities.
Vulnerable Populations are Unprotected by this Legislation

  • A2170 would grant broad prescription privileges with no restriction for especially vulnerable populations such as children, adolescents, and older adults.
  • Adolescents, children and the elderly metabolize medications differently than healthy adults and practitioners need medical training with supervised experience treating a variety of medical conditions to prescribe safely to these vulnerable populations. A2170 DOES NOT require supervision under any circumstance.

While A2170 requires interaction with a patient’s physician of record, it falls short of true collaboration or supervision required of other physician extenders like physician assistants and APNs, whose practice acts guarantee direct access to the highest trained provider.
This Legislation Places NO Restrictions on the Types of Medications Psychologists Can Prescribe

  • A2170 allows psychologists to prescribe all medications in the PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference). This includes cardiac, diabetic, opioid and other drugs.
  • A2170 allows psychologists to prescribe controlled dangerous substances, including narcotics and opiates.



NJPA Experience in Louisiana
and New Mexico

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Congressman Patrick Kennedy Opposes Psychologist Prescription Privileges

Speaking to the psychiatric physicians of the American Psychiatric Association Assembly Meeting November 9, 2013

Click on arrow below to listen to former Congressman Kennedy.

“Only someone with a medical degree and training, like all of you, can make those diagnoses and prescribe the necessary medications for people with a brain-related illness.”

Association Inquiries:

Patricia DeCotiis, Esq.
Executive Director
New Jersey Psychiatric Association
New Jersey Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
208 Lenox Ave #198
Westfield, NJ 07090
Phone: 908-588-3540

Media Inquiries:

Matt Stanton
Phone: 973-699-3115 (cell)

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Latest News

Don’t let psychologists prescribe drugs

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Dr. Consuelo Cagande: Don’t let psychologists prescribe drugs

During the last state legislative session, New Jersey psychologists aggressively lobbied for a bill that would grant them the authority to write prescriptions for any drug in the Physician Desk Reference. Under the proposed legislation, non-physician psychologists with a master’s degree and 400 hours of training would be able to write prescriptions for some of the most powerful psychotropic medications available on the market today.

Read the full article from Asbury Park Press on April 13, 2016 by clicking here.

N.J. bills allowing psychologists to prescribe medications would harm patients

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As a licensed medical doctor and practicing psychiatrist in New Jersey, I am very concerned that the state Legislature is considering bills A2892 and S1864. This legislation would allow psychologists to prescribe medications; it would, in effect, confer a license to practice medicine without a medical education.

Read the full article on by clicking here.

Only medical doctors should be allowed to prescribe medication

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Newly appointed executive director of NJ Psychiatric Association says proposed legislation will endanger patients

Read the full article on by clicking here

News on A2892/S1864

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TRENTON — Psychiatrists in New Jersey have launched an online campaign they hope will torpedo “risky” legislation that gives psychologists the authority to write prescriptions.

The New Jersey Psychiatric Association unveiled a new website,, that explains why the state legislature, the governor and the public should oppose the bill that passed the Assembly in June. To view the full article on click here.