Gov. Phil Murphy outlined his public health plan to commit $100 million from his Fiscal Year 2019 budget to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic in New Jersey through a strategic, coordinated multi-agency effort. Overdose deaths have surged in New Jersey as more than 2,200 Garden State residents died between 2016 and 2017.
“Every day, the scourge of opioids is tearing apart our families and decimating communities throughout New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “We recognize that addiction is a treatable illness and with the right resources for prevention, treatment and recovery, we can help those struggling with the disease restore their lives.”
Governor Murphy made the announcement during a visit to the Rescue Mission of Trenton, an organization that provides counseling and supportive services for substance abuse treatment including residential and outpatient programs.
The Administration’s strategy will be data driven with deep interagency collaboration to provide greater access to community based treatment, while also addressing the social risk factors individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) face. The Administration is committed to leading a long term, sustainable strategy that will support more individuals access to the critical treatment they need and will support the long, multi-faceted path to recovery that patients, families and communities deserve. The Administration also recognizes there is continued opportunity outside of direct funding to encourage deeper coordination, collaboration and common-sense policies across levels of government and stakeholders that will support a statewide approach to addressing the opioid epidemic.
Governor Murphy’s public health plan includes:
$56 Million -Prevention, Treatment and Recovery:
Individuals suffering from OUD and SUD are continuing to overdose and die in New Jersey at alarming rates. A major portion of this funding, specifically $38.5 million, will be used to develop a coordinated and comprehensive approach that includes: expanded and improved access to community based, outpatient programs, so that more individuals have more regular, consistent and timely access to treatment; access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT); and recovery peer coach services.
Through this and other initiatives, some of the most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, veterans, and individuals experiencing high utilization of the criminal justice and hospital systems will be actively targeted.
$31 Million – Social Risk Factors:
To support individuals on their path to recovery and sobriety, key social risk factors such as unemployment and homelessness must be addressed. Supportive housing for individuals and families experiencing OUD and SUD is crucial to getting them or keeping them in recovery.
Further, the stigma of addiction as well as the existence of a criminal record make it difficult for individuals completing treatment to enter or re-enter the workforce. Training and support for people looking to enter and re-enter the workforce is important for their sobriety as well as New Jersey’s economy. Housing and employment programs will target some of the most vulnerable populations.
Funding includes: $12 million for supportive housing for high-risk families through the Keeping Families Together program; at least $5 million for supportive housing for individuals with OUD and SUD; and $5 million for employment training and support.
$13 Million – Infrastructure and Data:
Supporting infrastructure development in the addictions system is critical. The opioid epidemic has cast a wide and long-lasting impact on patients, families and communities. We need to ensure that addictions providers have the infrastructure, support and capacity to treat individuals on their long paths to recovery. By supporting the development of data and technology as well as workforce development and training, the Administration is ensuring a stronger foundation so that New Jersey has an adequately equipped addictions system to address the real needs of patients and families in the years ahead. $10 million of this funding will be dedicated to infrastructure building for our state’s addictions system, specifically including development of electronic health records to support connectivity among different types of providers, and workforce development and training.
The Administration also will prioritize the use of integrated data for population health research and programmatic evaluation so that both strategy and programmatic implementation continuously improves.
Complementing these efforts, Attorney General Grewal recently announced the creation of a new office within the Office of the Attorney General dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic. The Office of the New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Response and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”) is responsible for overseeing addiction-fighting efforts across the Department of Law and Public Safety and creating partnerships with other agencies and groups. The effort includes statewide opioid response teams, a NJ CARES Website, an interagency drug awareness dashboard, as well as enhancements to the NJ Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP).
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