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NJ Gov. Christie celebrates 1-year anniversary of the state’s Facing Addiction Task Force
Just over a year ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie exercised his executive powers to create a new task force to combat and prevent drug addiction, particularly heroin abuse, across the state.
Calling it The Facing Addiction Task Force, Christie charged the 12-member group with three main objectives:
- Find ways to reduce the stigma of addiction.
- Provide recommendations for strengthening treatment.
- Develop prevention strategies.
The task force has just celebrated its first birthday, and according to Christie it’s done very well indeed.
At the inauguration and announcement of the task force a year ago, Christie called for changes in the way addiction is perceived and treated in New Jersey.
“We need to continue to make change and deal with addiction differently in our state,” he said. “Everyone deserves a second chance of making their lives exactly what they want them be.”
At the one-year anniversary event held at a medical arts facility in Paterson, NJ, Christie praised the group for its accomplishments already and promised that even more will be done during the remainder of his term in office.
The governor said that combating drug addiction, and removing the stigma that is commonly associated with it, is “the noblest thing” people in positions of power can do. He said that the public needs to know that addiction is not a moral failing, but “a mistake in judgment.”
The Facing Addiction Task Force personnel are a strong mix of leaders and experts from the government, community and drug addiction treatment industry. The group is co-chaired by Pastor Joe A. Carter of Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church and former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey.
Christie called for the creation of a task force following a successful event last year titled “The Many Faces of Addiction: Ending The Stigma.” That event sparked a call to action and brought together numerous public leaders, treatment professionals, advocates, and survivors of drug addiction sharing the goal of ending the stigma attached to drug addiction and treatment.
The task force created the “Recovery Coaches” program to provide a fast response to people who survive opioid overdoses. These so-called coaches will be trained and ready to connect drug overdose survivors with treatment, counseling, and support services in the immediate aftermath of their overdose, which is considered the ideal time for successful intervention.
The NJ Department of Human Services will develop and run the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program which will manage the Recovery Coaches, getting them into hospital emergency departments to meet with overdose survivor patients. With $1.3 million of funding from the state, it will begin serving in the areas most impacted by addiction and overdose.
The task force has also established the “Reentry Cooperation Program” which provides ex-offenders battling addiction with support services.
“Nothing makes me prouder than this,” Christie said. “Nothing is more important to me, personally, than this.”
If you or someone you care about needs help with substance abuse or addiction, please call us here at Novus right away. We’ll answer all your questions and help steer you to the treatment options that are right for you.
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