Gov. Christie pledges $200 million to boost N.J. opioid addiction programs

Gov. Chris Christie says he's pledging $200 million to boost the fight against opioid addiction.
 (Photo courtesy of N.J. Governor's Office)

Gov. Chris Christie says he's pledging $200 million to boost the fight against opioid addiction. (Photo courtesy of N.J. Governor's Office)

Gov. Chris Christie is detailing his plan to shift $200 million from New Jersey’s budget for new initiatives to combat the opioid crisis.

Christie said Tuesday 25 programs will be implemented or expanded.

A $40 million pilot program will reward treatment providers whose clients stay in treatment, are employed, and have stable housing that helps with their recovery.

“We want to incentive those who are providing this treatment to know — that at the end of however long their inpatient program is — that their obligation does not end to that patient and to their family,” he said. “This is going to be the gold standard of care across the entire country when we get it done. 

Christie said the plan calls for $36 million to expand support housing for adults with substance use disorders so they can have a safe, affordable home. 

“Additionally, an opportunity to learn jobs skills and interviewing techniques to rebuild their lives on the outside,” he said. “We almost always will try to put them in a new location, someplace away from the neighborhood that may have helped to lead them to the problems that they confronted when they got into treatment in the first place.”

Christie said $21 million will be allocated to expand a recovery-coach program to every county in the state. That program provides post-treatment coaching for overdose patients taken to hospital emergency rooms. 

“And be able to push them towards an appropriate detox facility, get them to inpatient treatment if necessary or outpatient treatment if that’s what is most appropriate, and then continue to follow the path of these patients to make sure as best they can that the patients stay on the right path,” he said.

Christie, who said he expects those initiatives to underway before he leaves office, said the state’s  budget has enough money to cover the costs.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars in programs across the budget that don’t get spent.  And I’ve looked at this really closely,” he said. “This will not involve any kind of significant reduction in any program, nor will it involve an increase in taxes.”

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