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.