Murphy Administration Marks Overdose Awareness Day; Urges New Jerseyans to Take Action

August 30, 2019

TRENTON – In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson today urged New Jerseyans to take three steps to support the Murphy Administration’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic in our State:

  1. Know and share the NJ Addiction Help Hotline – (844) REACHNJ – where immediate help from trained addiction counselors is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  1. Keep the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, which can help save a life, in easy reach.
  1. Speak out against stigma by encouraging and supporting individuals seeking treatment.

“On International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember the New Jerseyans we have lost to overdose and their family and friends,” Commissioner Johnson said. “In their memory, NJ Human Services will continue to use all available tools to turn the tide of the opioid epidemic that has caused far too much heartbreak and devastation for New Jersey families.”

NJ Human Services is investing in prevention, treatment and recovery strategies, including:

  • Leading what is believed to be the largest single-day distribution of free naloxone in the country in June of this year, where NJ Human Services distributed 32,000 doses of free naloxone to 16,000 New Jerseyans in one day across the State.  Naloxone save lives, and Human Services is committed to getting it into as many hands as possible.
  • Expanding access to opioid addiction treatment by improving Medicaid reimbursement for treatment; lifting prior authorization requirements to make it faster to initiate medication-assisted opioid treatment, the gold standard in opioid addiction care; training more health care providers to offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction; and creating Centers of Excellence in opioid addiction treatment to increase NJ’s expertise in addiction treatment.
  • Supporting the path to recovery by investing in housing supports, peer-to-peer counseling and support, and collaborating to support employment and training. 

“Removing barriers to opioid addiction treatment, increasing knowledge of the risks of addiction and overdoses, and focusing attention on the need to support people in recovery represent important tools in our shared fight to save lives.”  said Commissioner Johnson.  “Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for all of us working each day across our State to prevent opioid overdoses to reflect on those we have lost and recommit ourselves to the fight ahead.”

Earlier this week, Commissioner Johnson announced the latest NJ Human Services investments in opioid prevention and recovery supports.  The Department awarded nearly $4 million to provide services to help individuals with opioid use disorder sustain their recovery and to support initiatives to educate older New Jerseyans about preventing opioid misuse. 

Awards were announced for two programs:

First, nearly $3.2 million was awarded to nine agencies to expand the Support Team for Addiction Recovery (STAR) program.  The STAR program provides case management and recovery support services to help individuals with opioid use disorder maintain a path to recovery.  Through the program, recovery specialists work with individuals to assist with critical issues that help to support recovery such as housing, employment, transportation, social services, and health care.

Each of the following organizations received $350,000 per county in funding for the STAR program:

  • Center For Family Services, serve Cape May and Salem Counties
  • Oaks Integrated Care to serve Cumberland County
  • Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care to serve Hunterdon County
  • Care Plus NJ Inc. to serve Morris, Passaic, and Warren Counties
  • Richard Hall CMHC of Somerset County to serve Somerset County
  • The Center for Prevention and Counseling to serve Sussex County

Second, awards were announced to fund the Alternative Approaches to Pain Management for Older Adults program.  Through this program, community groups work to improve education and outreach to older New Jerseyans about pain treatment alternatives to opioids, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, and certain over-the-counter drugs. 

Each of the following organizations received $75,000 per county in funding:

  • Camden County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse to serve Camden County
  • Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction to serve Mercer County
  • NCADD of Middlesex, Inc. DBA Wellspring Center for Prevention to serve Middlesex County
  • Family & Children’s Service to serve Monmouth County
  • The Southwest Council, Inc. to serve Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties
  • Community in Crisis, Inc. to serve Somerset County
  • Family Guidance Center to serve Warren County