NJ Human Services Trains Health Care Providers to Treat Opioid Addiction

More Than 300 Physicians, Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Trained to Date

(TRENTON) - Today, NJ Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson joined a Department-supported session in Trenton that is training doctors, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants to treat opioid addiction with medication-assisted treatment. The session was part of a Department program that, since February, has hosted sessions across the State and trained more than 300 health care providers to treat opioid addiction with medication-assisted treatment. ‎ The project is part of the Governor's opioid initiative and is funded by state and federal resources.

“NJ Human Services is committed to making opioid addiction treatment as accessible as possible,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “We are excited by the health care community’s response to our training sessions and their shared commitment to making opioid addiction treatment more readily available across our State. The Murphy Administration is working to expand treatment options not only by funding treatment initiatives and changing how we pay for treatment services in programs like Medicaid, but by supporting and growing the number of health care providers offering opioid addiction treatment.”

Today's training in Trenton was the eighth of 18 scheduled training sessions. The Department is funding Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark to train health care providers in the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction (MAT). MAT is the clinical standard for opioid addiction treatment. Training sessions will continue throughout the summer and into the fall. The Trenton session was conducted by Rowan and trained 45 health care providers.

“Expanding access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder is essential to stemming the epidemic facing New Jersey,” said Larry Downs, Esq., CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ). “MSNJ commends the New Jersey Department of Human Services for making training programs easily accessible for physicians.”

"New Jersey is becoming a national leader in addressing the opioid crisis and these trainings are the perfect doorway for providers and all members of the healthcare team to get involved. We have seen tremendous interest and enthusiasm from attendees and we're confident that these trainings will help us turn the tide on this epidemic and improve access to MAT across the state," said Dr. Erin Zerbo, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and attending psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital.

Federal law requires the training and completion of a waiver to prescribe certain medication-assisted treatments. Through this project, training is provided for free to allow health care providers to meet the requirement for the federal waiver. Under the program, eligible providers who complete the full day training and successfully obtain a federal waiver are eligible to receive a $750 stipend. The total state and federal investment in this initiative is $2 million.

“We are continuously working to increase access to substance use disorder treatment, particularly medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder,” said Humans Services’ Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services Valerie Mielke. “Treatment works, and we are delighted that more and more health care providers are getting ready to offer medication-assisted treatment.”

“NJSNA supports the NJ Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson in her efforts to increase the number of health care providers, including Advanced Practice Nurses, to be able to treat opioid addiction through Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses are ready and able to help combat this epidemic and provided needed services to our communities,” said Judith Schmidt, CEO of the New Jersey State Nurses Association.