New Jersey Governor Spearheads Fight in Opioid Crisis Both Locally and Nationally

In his last term as governor, Chris Christie is aggressively enacting initiatives to fight opioid abuse. The effort should cost some $200 million, but the Governor has said he is not putting a limit on spending for it because the opioid crisis claims so many lives. He leaves office in January.

Governor Christie laid out what he wants to do in an exclusive interview with Stephen Stirling of NJ Advance Media, including the following:
• Improve substance abuse treatment with an emphasis on sustained sobriety by standardizing data collection and building seamless channels for holistic care.
• Establish an incentive-based treatment program for the uninsured or those on Medicaid.
• Provide housing and support for adults with substance abuse disorders.
• Create programs to support opioid-addicted mothers, their babies and entire families.
• Expand a recovery coach program to every county in New Jersey.
• Obtain a Medicaid waiver for New Jersey from the Mental Disease Exclusion, which bars treatment facilities with more than 17 beds from receiving federal support.

Programs for underserved populations, such as the uninsured, Medicaid recipients, babies born with addiction and their mothers, will be high priority in the Christie plan. He said that the funding is coming out of the budgets of eight state departments in New Jersey.

Governor Christie hopes that the work in his state will serve as a model for other states. He serves as chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis for the Trump Administration.

Recently, the commission issued a preliminary report recommending that the president declare a national emergency to fight the problem, which will allow federal funding for the fight. Governor Christie said that he expects President Trump will do so eventually. The final report from the commission will be released in Fall 2017.

To read the full article, go to: https://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2017/09/exclusive_christie_to_announce_200_million_for_opi.html#incart_river_index