Federal and state lawmakers highlighted International Overdose Awareness Day Aug. 31 by announcing funding and new programs to fight the opioid epidemic in New Jersey.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) granted New Jersey nearly $66 million to bolster the state’s efforts in combating the opioid drug abuse.
The state was awarded a $65,969,842 State Opioid Response Grant from HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA provides the grant funding with flexibility in mind.
The state is expected to use the funding to support prevention, treatment, and recovery services across the state. The funding will require a focus on evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment,
Addressing a State- and Country-Wide Issue
Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker highlighted the scale of the opioid epidemic, noting how it affected New Jersey families and the nation at large.
“Our nation’s opioid epidemic has taken a devastating toll on families and communities across New Jersey,” said Sen. Booker. “Tackling this crisis requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach, and this federal funding will expand New Jersey’s capacity to offer those facing addiction the behavioral health treatment they need.”
“The opioid crisis has affected families in every corner of our state and has had a devastating impact on whole communities,” said Sen. Menendez.“This funding will allow our state to continue combating the crisis with family-focused treatment and recovery strategies, while practicing preventative measures to ensure individuals don’t fall victim to the opioid epidemic in the first place.”
The Senators announced the state will receive a combined total of $2.2 million in federal grants from the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program to continue their efforts in combating the opioid epidemic, and in preventing and reducing substance use and abuse among young people across the state.
“Addressing drug abuse among young adults in New Jersey requires key prevention and education efforts through proven programs like this,” said Booker. “These New Jersey organizations are working hard to fight the drug abuse crisis across our state, and this federal funding gives them the resources they need by ensuring help is available to those seeking it.”
Among the groups receiving $125,000 grants in North Jersey are Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton, Children’s Aid & Family Services Inc. in Paramus, Family Guidance Center of Warren County, Montclair State University, Morris County Prevention is Key, Inc. in Rockaway, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Hudson, Young Men’s Christian Association of Madison and William Paterson University.
Attorney General Action
On the same day, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, alongside the Division of Consumer Affairs and the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Response and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES), announced $1.2 million in additional funding to integrate the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP) with electronic health records and pharmacy management systems across the state.
The integration of the programs will help to more easily identify residents vulnerable to opioid addiction, and work to address the issue before an overdose risk becomes apparent.
Grewal marked the event by reflecting upon the pain the opioid crisis had caused within the nation.
“Today, as we remember those who tragically lost their battle with addiction, we are providing hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers statewide with enhanced access to a powerful tool to prevent drug addictions from the outset, and intervene before a fatal overdose occurs,” said Grewal.