PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
October 5, 2023

Kaitlan Baston, MD, MSc, DFASAM
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Health Department Highlights Ongoing Expansion of Harm Reduction Services in NJ

Approvals Expand Operations to 12 of New Jersey's 21 Counties

TRENTON – Following regulatory changes implemented by the Murphy Administration in July 2023 to facilitate the development of harm reduction centers (HRCs) throughout our state, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) today highlighted the ongoing approvals of new centers and efforts to grow the reach of existing centers. Since New Jersey began accepting new applications for harm reduction centers on a rolling basis in July, seven additional HRC applicants have been approved in 2023 – effectively doubling the number of approved HRCs in the state. HRCs are now authorized to operate in 12 of the state’s 21 counties.

“Harm reduction is a key component of our state’s ongoing efforts to support the individuals and families that have been impacted by the ongoing substance use crisis facing our nation,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Enabling the expansion of harm reduction centers in more communities throughout our state will make it easier for residents to access essential, evidence-based services in compassionate and understanding environments. These approvals represent the continued progress our state is making in reducing the harmful effects of drugs on the lives of countless New Jerseyans.”

“This expansion continues to underscore New Jersey's commitment to bringing community-driven solutions to residents and their families,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston. “These harm reduction efforts reach deep into communities to provide safe, effective services that will help end suffering from substance use disorders and save lives.”

Harm reduction centers are community-based programs that offer a safe, trauma-informed, non-stigmatizing space for people who use drugs to access naloxone, sterile syringes, and other safer use supplies. They also facilitate safe disposal of used syringes and provide access or referral to wraparound services, such as substance use disorder treatment, health care, and services that address basic needs.

Through the approvals in 2023, services will soon be delivered through 13 new sites. The new HRCs are:

  • Centers for Prevention and Counseling, a Newton-based substance abuse treatment program, will provide a fixed site;
  • Integrity House, a substance abuse treatment program, to provide a fixed site and mobile services serving Newark and Elizabeth;
  • Newark Community Street Team, a community-based nonprofit organization, which will provide a fixed site and mobile services to the city;
  • North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), an AIDS service organization, which will provide mobile services to East Orange and Plainfield;
  • PROCEED Inc., a community-based health and human services organization in Elizabeth, which will provide a fixed site in the city and provide mobile services to Elizabeth, Plainfield, and greater Union County, as well as Newark; and
  • South Jersey AIDS Alliance, an AIDS service organization, which will provide fixed sites in Vineland and Rio Grande, and mobile services also serving Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville, Lower Township, Upper Township, Woodbine, and Middle Township.

Start dates will be announced in the coming weeks on nj.gov/health.

In August, NJDOH announced the authorization of the first HRC in five years, which is run by the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey. The agency was approved to stand up a mobile unit to operate in Asbury Park, Eatontown, Keansburg, Keyport, Long Branch, and Red Bank in Monmouth County, as well as Brick and Toms River in Ocean County.

The new harm reduction centers join the state’s existing programs in Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Camden, Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton. In an effort to help residents impacted by the ongoing substance use crisis, the Murphy Administration has facilitated the expansion of both HRCs and other harm reduction efforts. In January 2022, Governor Murphy signed legislation expanding harm reduction efforts.

Federally qualified health centers, substance use treatment programs, AIDS service organizations, public health agencies, and other entities interested in becoming a harm reduction center can apply at www.nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hrc. Funding to support new and existing HRCs is currently under review and expected to start in January 2024.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on X (formerly Twitter) @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth, Threads @NJDeptofHealth, and LinkedIn /company/njdeptofhealth.

Last Reviewed: 10/5/2023