With 40 recommendations to combat New Jersey’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Chris Christie’s Task Force on Drug Abuse Control Tuesday released its report Tuesday. Many of the recommendations were included in the $200 million initiatives he announced last month. And Christie said he’s directing his staff to develop plans to implement all of them before he leaves office in January.
New Jersey’s Department of Health has been told to immediately revise guidelines so first responders can carry 4 milligrams of naloxone, the opioid-overdose antidote.
“Two milligrams just is not enough to reverse the overdose of most people who are overdosing from fentanyl. The task force got these reports back from EMTs who were saying that we knew someone with fentanyl, and we gave them 2 milligrams of [naloxone] and we couldn’t reverse them,” Christie said. “And we need 4, but they were not authorized by state regulation to carry 4.”
Christie has made the drug addiction problem the main focus for the final months of his term as governor.
He worries that drug abuse deaths will go up in the next few years because, despite efforts to curb opioid abuse, many more people are still getting hooked.
“What I hope to see from the efforts that we’re putting in is a slowing in the rate of increase in the next year or two and then a decline after that,” the governor said. “But that’s going to take vigilance by the next administration to do the things that we’ve been doing — and maybe more.”