Governor Christie Announces Enactment Of Law Allowing More Pharmacists To Dispense Life-Saving Narcan

Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today announced that New Jersey pharmacies without medical directors can now apply for a standing order to dispense the life-saving heroin antidote Narcan® without a prescription.

The Pharmacy Practice Act, amended in June by Governor Christie as part of his continuing efforts to fight the heroin crisis, allows pharmacies without medical directors to get a standing order from the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) to dispense the antidote.

“This law is just one important tool in our comprehensive strategy in combating the disease of addiction,” said Governor Christie. “Narcan is critical to our efforts to save lives and now we are making it easier for more pharmacists to help.”

Last week, the opioid epidemic was declared a national public health emergency by President Donald Trump.

Since April 2014, police, EMTs, and paramedics have administered Narcan more than 32,000 times, including 9,500 overdose reversals this year alone.  In addition, thousands more reversals have been done in hospital emergency rooms.

The original law did not provide a mechanism for DOH to issue a standing order and allowed only pharmacists with medical directors to dispense Narcan, generically known as naloxone. Hundreds of pharmacies throughout the state do not have medical directors on staff.

DOH has finalized the standing order process and is now accepting requests from licensed pharmacists in good standing with the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy (BOP). Requests should be emailed to standing.orderrequests@doh.nj.gov.

The standing order allows pharmacists to dispense the antidote to someone at risk of an overdose or to an individual who obtains the antidote to administer it to a loved one or someone in an emergency, regardless of whether they have a prescription for the antidote. The standing order requires the pharmacists to provide information about recognition and prevention as well as information about dosage, resuscitation, and aftercare.

Narcan is administered, often through a nasal ingestion but sometimes through injection, throughout the state by police, EMTs, and paramedics and is dispensed to families through programs funded by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, now located in the DOH.

Governor Christie also has expanded Recovery Coach and Patient Navigator programs that pair people whose overdose was reversed in a hospital with peers that can guide them through the steps of recovery.

“We have to look at every overdose reversal as an opportunity to get people into treatment,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “The administration of Narcan may return someone from near death, but we know sustained recovery requires more than just an antidote.”

This standing order will be reviewed periodically and updated if there are relevant developments in the law or science about opioid antidote administration.

Pharmacists dispensing the opioid antidote must maintain records as required by the BOP, which is in the process of issuing guidance for pharmacists who dispense the antidote.

For more information about Narcan, please visit http://nj.gov/health/integratedhealth/services-treatment/naloxone.shtml.

Mine Hill Signs on as Morris County’s 25th Stigma-Free Town

The Mine Hill Township Council has passed a resolution to declare the township Stigma-Free, making the total 25 of the county’s 39 towns to join the Morris County “Stigma Free’’ initiative that aims to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

This grass roots initiative recognizes the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders in our communities, and promotes re-education and understanding that can help lead to treatment and recovery – minus the stigma associated with these illnesses.

Those topics will be the focus of special FREE conference co-sponsored by the Morris County Board of Freeholders and Atlantic Health System, in collaboration with the Morris County Stigma-Free Community, to be held on Nov. 1  in Morristown. (Call 973.660.3183 to attend.)

Entitled “Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness and Addiction: Building Healthy Communities,’’ the event, which is open to the public, will be held at the Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, at 100 Madison Avenue, Morristown, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mine Hill is one of a majority of Morris County municipalities that have signed on as Stigma-Free communities, most of which will be represented at Wednesday’s conference.”

Mine Hill is happy to join this vital and important initiative,’’ said Mine Hill Mayor Sam Morris. “It’s important for people who are encountering a mental health or dependency issue to feel free from stigma and embarrassment.

“None of us would scorn someone who needs medical help with diabetes or a heart condition. It should be the same consideration for people with mental illness and dependency as well.”

Other Stigma-Free towns are Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Long Hill, Madison, Mendham Borough, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury, and Washington Township, plus the Montville Township School District.

“This initiative is an important step in helping affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “But it is only support shown for this Stigma-Free initiative by towns like Mine Hill, and their officials and residents, that can make this grass roots effort succeed.’’

Morris County has created a Stigma Free website www.morriscountystigmafree.org to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse. A Stigma Free Toolkit also is available for towns and communities.

The purpose of the Nov. 1 conference is to bring the Stigma-Free community together to help:

  • Create a non-judgmental environment where individuals with mental illness and addictions feel supported by their community and neighbors
  • Encourage people to seek treatment for these illnesses without fear of stigma
  • Provide prevention, treatment, & recovery resource information
  • Share ideas on stigma free activities — discuss successes and challenges
  • Understand what Atlantic Health System is doing to best assist and treat those who struggle with mental illness

Four guest speakers will provide different perspectives on the issue of dealing with addiction and mental illness, and the importance of a Stigma-Free approach:

  • Bob Davison, CEO of the Mental Health Association of Morris and Essex Counties;
  • Pamela Garanger of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill;
  • Melissa Kiritsis of Jefferson’s JT Connect;
  • James M. Gannon, Morris County Sheriff.

To learn more about the conference, visit: https://morriscountystigmafree.org/conference/

For information on the disease of mental illness, visit www.nami.org and for information on NAMI’s national Stigma Free effort, visit: https://www.nami.org/stigmafree

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When individuals are labeled by their illnesses, they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.

First Morris County Stigma-Free Conference Set for November 1

The Morris County Board of Freeholders and Atlantic Health System in collaboration with the Morris County Stigma-Free Community will hold a morning of education and recognition on Nov. 1 in Morristown.

Morris County Stigma FreeEntitled “Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness and Addiction: Building Healthy Communities,’’ the event, which is open to the public, will be held at the Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, at 100 Madison Avenue, Morristown, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Call 973.660.3183 to attend.)

The purpose of the event is to bring the community together to help:

  • Create a non-judgmental environment where individuals with mental illness and addictions feel supported by their community and neighbors
  • Encourage people to seek treatment for these illnesses without fear of stigma
  • Provide prevention, treatment, & recovery resource information
  • Share ideas on stigma free activities — discuss successes and challenges
  • Understand what Atlantic Health System is doing to best assist and treat those who struggle with mental illness

Opening comments will be provided by Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo and Morristown Medical Center President Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN. Information about Stigma-Free will be presented by Laurie Becker, Director of Morris County’s Division of Community and Behavioral Health Services.

Four guest speakers will provide different perspectives on the issue of dealing with addiction and mental illness, and the importance of a Stigma-Free approach:

  • Bob Davison, CEO of the Mental Health Association of Morris and Essex Counties;
  • Pamela Garanger of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill;
  • Melissa Kiritsis of Jefferson’s JT Connect;
  • James M. Gannon, Morris County Sheriff.

Atlantic Health and Morris County logos

“The Stigma-Free initiative is an important effort to help all of us understand the problems facing individual residents and families in our county who have to deal with mental illness and substance abuse, and how these illnesses can destroy their lives,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We are working to help affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal.’’

Trish O’Keefe
Trish O’Keefe

“Atlantic Health System is committed to building healthier communities, and that involves programs and partnerships outside of the walls of our hospitals,” said Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, president of Morristown Medical Center. “We aim to provide person-centered care that reflects the unique needs of each individual we’re privileged to serve. Through our ongoing partnerships with Morris County organizations, we’re able to ensure that both medical and psychosocial needs are met.”

The Freeholder Board in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free county and asked the county’s 39 towns to consider enrolling. The goal of the Stigma Free initiative is to disseminate information and foster a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover.

“We know there is no Big Government solution to these problems; that it requires a grass roots movement in our towns and schools and businesses to make this work,’’ said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, the county governing board’s liaison to human services issues. “We thank all of the 23 towns that have so far joined this countywide effort in taking stand against stigma and fostering treatment and recovery — with no questions asked.’’

Stigma-Free also is a campaign that has been embraced by the county’s hospitals and nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement, who have become great partners in this grass-roots movement.

Morris County towns that have passed Stigma-Free resolutions are Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Long Hill, Madison, Mendham Borough, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Pequannock, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury and Washington Township.

Residents of participating towns are urged to take the Stigma-Free Pledge:

  • As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance use disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.
  • The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.

Morris County has created a Stigma Free website https://morriscountystigmafree.org/ to provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse. A Stigma Free Toolkit also is available for towns and communities.

For more information on the disease of mental illness, visit www.nami.org and for more information on NAMI’s national Stigma-Free effort, visit: https://www.nami.org/stigmafree

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When an individual is labeled by their illness they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

From the New York Times:

In 1985, the Higher Education Research Institute at U.C.L.A. began asking incoming college freshmen if they “felt overwhelmed by all I had to do” during the previous year. In 1985, 18 percent said they did. By 2010, that number had increased to 29 percent. Last year, it surged to 41 percent.

For many of these young people, the biggest single stressor is that they “never get to the point where they can say, ‘I’ve done enough, and now I can stop,’ ” Luthar says. “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college. Kids have a sense that they’re not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.”

Read the full article.

Morris County Stigma-Free: Randolph Joins Initiative — 24 Towns Now Participating

COUNTYWIDE INITIATIVE TO END STIGMA RELATED TO MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS

The Randolph Township Council this week passed a resolution to declare the township Stigma-Free, making it the 24th town to join the Morris County “Stigma Free’’ initiative that aims to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Morris County Stigma-Free: Randolph Joins Initiative -- 24 Towns Now Participating

Stigma-Free Morris County poster

This grass roots initiative recognizes the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders in our communities, and promotes re-education and understanding that can help lead to treatment and recovery – minus the stigma associated with these illnesses.

“I am very happy that Randolph has joined the Morris County Stigma-Free initiative,’’ said Randolph Mayor Christine Carey.  “This initiative recognizes that the stigma associated with mental illness, including substance abuse disorders, has been identified as the primary reason individuals fail to seek help.  We want to create a culture in our community that supports our residents in asking for help and in seeking treatment.”Morris County Stigma-Free: Randolph Joins Initiative -- 24 Towns Now Participating

Randolph joins a majority of Morris County municipalities that have signed on as Stigma-Free communities.

Other Stigma-Free towns are Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Jefferson, Long Hill, Madison, Mendham Borough, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Morris Township, Mountain Lakes, Parsippany, Pequannock, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury, and Washington Township, plus the Montville Township School District.

“This initiative is an important step in helping affected people seek recovery, without fear of stigma or reprisal,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “But it is only support shown for this Stigma-Free initiative by towns like Randolph, and their officials and residents, that can make this grass roots effort succeed.’’

Morris County Stigma-Free: Randolph Joins Initiative -- 24 Towns Now Participating

The Morris County Board of Freeholders in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County and asked the county’s 39 towns to consider enrolling.

Morris County has created a Stigma Free websitewww.morriscountystigmafree.org to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse. A Stigma Free Toolkit also is available for towns and communities.

Morris County’s goal in creating a Stigma Free initiative is to disseminate information and foster a stigma-free environment where people are free from judgment and can get the help they need to recover.

Here are some other voices supporting the initiative:

Butler Mayor Bob Alveine: “We want to help save lives by encouraging people with addictions to come forward, to seek treatment without worrying about any stigma, and to embrace their efforts and encourage their recovery.’’

Dover Mayor James P. Dodd: “To truly change the way society views individuals with substance abuse and mental illness disorders we must change our language, attitude and be more compassionate.’’

Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty: “I hope that this designation will help those who are affected seek the assistance they need without fear of judgment.”

Mendham Mayor Neil Henry: “Only by removing the perception of shame or embarrassment will we erase those feelings that prevent our neighbors, friends and family members from seeking help.

Pequannock Mayor Melissa Florance-Lynch: “I am thrilled that the Township of Pequannock has joined the Morris County Stigma-Free initiative. In one way or another, everyone is affected by problems of mental illness and substance abuse and we want people to know the community is here to help.”

Roxbury Mayor Mark Crowley: “The Stigma Free Initiative is so important because it stresses that we become socially responsible for positive efforts to end discrimination of mental health and substance abuse disorders.’’

Washington Township Police Chief Jeff Almer: “This will make residents, as well as the police officers, more aware of the illnesses and work to create an environment where we can assist with wellness and recovery by providing needed support and resources.’’

As part of the countywide initiative, residents are urged to take the Stigma-Free Pledge:

  • As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance use disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.
  • The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.

For information on the disease of mental illness, visit www.nami.org and for information on NAMI’s national Stigma Free effort, visit: https://www.nami.org/stigmafree

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace which results from the judgment by others. When an individual is labeled by their illness they experience judgment and prejudice. Stigma brings experiences and feelings of shame, embarrassment, distress, hopelessness and reluctance to seek or accept help.

Governor Christie Announces Drug Abuse Control Task Force Findings

Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today announced that dozens of measures designed to combat America’s opioid crisis have been identified by The Governor’s Task Force on Drug Abuse Control, which was initiated by the Governor as part of his 2017 State of the State address, headed by Chairman Charlie McKenna and comprised of various cabinet members involved in curbing the epidemic of addiction.

The Task Force, authorized when Governor Christie declared opioid addiction a public health crisis in February, made 40 recommendations involving education, prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and reentry. (Report is attached).

“The work of this Task Force has already inspired several groundbreaking initiatives for New Jersey, including some of the 25 I announced last month using $200 million in available state resources,” Governor Christie said. “This report will serve as a blueprint for more programs and services that need to be established in our state and across the nation. I want to thank Charlie McKenna for using his vast experience in government in addressing some seemingly intractable problems we are facing with this crisis. As a result, I am directing my staff and Cabinet to thoroughly review all the recommendations in this report and develop plans to implement all those that apply to their individual departments.”

Immediately, Governor Christie said, the state Department of Health (DOH) will revise critical EMT guidelines to permit first responders to carry 4 milligrams of Naloxone, or Narcan, equaling the amount civilians can obtain and doubling the current amount EMT’s are allowed to stock.

“First responders have found that 4 milligrams may be needed to counteract the deadly effects of fentanyl, which is becoming a major factor in an opioid crisis that is killing as many people as 9/11 every three weeks in America,” the Governor said. “This will help EMT’s save more lives and help people suffering from addiction take their first step toward treatment and recovery.”

Among several other Task Force recommendations in progress is the expansion of New Jersey’s revolutionary Recovery Coach program, which helps ensure that individuals reversed with naloxone (or Narcan) learn about their options for treatment, and are encouraged to seek help.

A Recovery Coach is an individual, often in recovery themselves, trained to provide support to someone who wakes up following an overdose. With first-hand experience overcoming addiction and arising from rock bottom, New Jersey Recovery Coaches work alongside the state’s other dedicated behavioral health professionals to help reclaim lives. In 2016, there were 1,243 reversals seen in the Emergency Departments by the Recovery Coaches. This program is growing to all 21 counties and will now assist people after treatment and/or incarceration, in addition to those in hospital emergency rooms.

To access more information on programs, services and help regarding addiction prevention, treatment and recovery, the Governor encourages people to visit ReachNJ.gov or call 1-844-ReachNJ.

In opioid crisis, Christie provides weapons for war against addiction

Originally written by Robert J. Budsock, president and CEO of Integrity House, for the Star-Ledger

On Sept. 19, Gov. Chris Christie visited Integrity House in Newark to discuss new major initiatives to combat the opioid crisis. The governor will commit $200 million toward 25 recovery and prevention initiatives that will make New Jersey the model for nationwide addiction recovery programs.

The opioid epidemic is a national and state emergency that calls for immediate and drastic interventions, which is why we applaud the governor’s efforts to ensure a more comprehensive system of treatment, prevention and education. His proposals aim to increase treatment accessibility for those seeking help and resources for proper addiction treatment.

Addiction does not discriminate. It affects all people regardless of their job, age, race, gender or socioeconomic status.

The governor’s proposals offer a broad spectrum of services for each unique challenge that addiction may present by including:

  • Funds dedicated to a recovery pilot program for those on Medicaid or those who are uninsured who need inpatient treatment.
  • A recovery-coach program to link recovery coaches to people in treatment.
  • An expanded supportive housing program for those looking to stabilize once sober.
  • On-campus recovery programs for students in recovery.
  • A program to improve outcomes for pregnant women dependent on opioids.
  • A program to support individuals being released from prison who rely on medication-assisted treatment.

The newest addiction initiatives proposed by Christie will also aim to improve recovery and overdose training for health care and corrections staff. There is an education program proposed for obstetricians dealing with babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a program proposed to educate and prepare individuals to become certified alcohol and drug counselors, money dedicated to strengthening laboratories, technology and staff resources to advance toxicology testing, and a proposed workshop training program for Department of Corrections staff members to ensure they are well-versed in treatment, drug diversion and confidentiality.

I am hopeful that under the governor’s plan, accessibility to treatment services will increase for those who have fallen victim to the substance-use disorder epidemic plaguing our communities. Make no mistake: Addiction is a complex problem that demands a multifaceted, multidisciplinary solution. There isn’t a quick fix for the disease of addiction, and although recovery is possible, it is a lifelong commitment.

Although the end of the governor’s tenure is near, he remains deeply committed to helping communities battle the opioid epidemic and continues to reinforce that, through effective treatment, addiction is a recoverable disease. Christie has made a number of sweeping moves to combat New Jersey’s opioid-addiction crisis. His final push, committing $200 million to a robust prevention and recovery initiative program, marks some of the greatest hope we have for the fight against the ongoing opioid crisis.