Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Christie Ramps Up Drug Treatment Efforts In NJ

Acting on his commitment to change the way New Jersey deals with issues of drug abuse and addiction, Governor Chris Christie has announced more than $12 million in funding to support specialized addiction treatment and prevention efforts throughout the state. These funds will support programs that build on the Governor’s commitment to provide New Jerseyans with the tools they need to overcome the disease of drug addiction and reclaim their lives.

The Governor made the announcement during a visit to The Center for Great Expectations in Somerset, where he met with women taking part in the Mommy and Me initiative, a program that keeps families together by allowing mothers to live with their children during drug treatment and addiction recovery. The Center is a nonprofit organization that, in part through existing state grant funding, provides support services for adult and young women and their children to assist through homelessness, pregnancy, and addiction recovery.

“As an Administration, we are making investments in time and resources not only to change how we think about the issues of drug addiction, substance abuse, and recovery, but also how we treat them,” said Governor Christie. “It’s my commitment to recognize that reality, change perceptions, and put a focus on prevention and treatment, rather than just throwing lives away behind jailhouse bars. Today we are taking another step in that direction by announcing $12 million in funding for substance abuse treatment, specialized prevention and education efforts to help reduce the stigma associated with addiction and give people the tools they need to successfully beat their addiction.”

The Governor touted the drug addiction treatment and specialized prevention programs being funded through five Administration funding initiatives:

$1.8 Million In Funding For The Department Of Children And Families Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program For Women With Dependent Children (Mommy & Me) Expansion Into South Jersey.
· Studies show that women who can live with their child are more likely to complete their treatment, abstain from substance abuse, and have higher self-esteem and fewer problems with depression.

· This funding is for substance abuse treatment, including residential and outpatient treatment services for Child Protection and Permanency involved women and their children and reflective of the specialized needs of women with dependent children and that treat the family as a unit. Currently, the Mommy and Me program serves 140 mothers per year in central and northern New Jersey. The Center for Great Expectations is an effective model for the type of services to be funded through this program expansion, and this funding will expand services into the southern part of the state through a competitive process.

$1.485 Million In Funding For The Department Of Children And Families Residential Treatment Center For Youth with Co-Occurring Mental Health And Substance Use Diagnoses.

· The program services are provided in homelike settings within the community, addressing the youths’ individualized needs through clinical assessments, services and treatment that focus on identified strengths and the development of social skills, problem solving, and coping mechanisms.

· This funding will provide the resources for an additional 10 beds for co-occurring mental health and substance abuse diagnosis.

$6 Million In Funding For The Department Of Human Services Division Of Mental Health And Addiction Services (DMHAS) For Services To Prevent Substance Abuse.

· Services provided through the contracts are expected to satisfy three goals: to reduce the use of illegal substances, reduce the misuse of prescription medication, and reduce underage drinking.

· $5.2 million of the funding will be targeted to funding community-based prevention programs, with amounts ranging from $114,000 to $390,000, depending on the need in each of the counties where the providers operate. The remaining $550,000 will be contracted for specialized prevention programming targeting high-risk populations.

$1.52 Million In Funding Recently Awarded By Department Of Human Services For Halfway House Substance Abuse Treatment Services For Drug Court Participants.

· Final awards were issued to Rescue Mission (Trenton), Hendricks House (Vineland), Straight and Narrow (Paterson), CURA (Newark) and Integrity House (Newark).

$1.27 Million Recently Awarded By The Department Of Children And Families To Provide Integrated Out-Of-Home Treatment Services For Youth With Co-Occurring Mental Health And Substance Use Treatment Needs.

· Final awards were issued to Twin Oaks Community Services, Inc, Mt Holly and Bonnie Brae, Liberty Corner.

Last week, the Governor created The Facing Addiction Task Force, a team of leaders and experts from inside and outside of government to help develop a strategy to destigmatize, prevent and treat the disease of addiction with a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach. For years, Governor Christie has fought to change the way we deal with addiction treatment, drug abuse, overdose prevention, and addiction-fueled recidivism in New Jersey. Those efforts include:

· Mandatory Drug Court For Nonviolent, Drug-Addicted Offenders. In 2012, Governor Christie signed into law landmark, bipartisan legislation to put in place a statewide, mandatory drug court program. The legislation acted on the principles that no life is disposable and that it is a commonsense, fiscal, and moral imperative to help individuals dealing with drug addiction reclaim their lives with treatment, rather than warehousing them in prison.

· Statewide Heroin Antidote Program To Train And Equip First Responders With Immediate, Lifesaving Response To Overdose. Governor Christie announced a statewide expansion of the successful pilot program that was launched in Ocean and Monmouth counties earlier this year to help reduce the number of heroin-related deaths by training and equipping police officers and first responders to administer the antidote Narcan to overdose victims.

· Signed Bipartisan Overdose Protection Act Into Law. In May 2013, fulfilling his commitment to emphasize drug rehabilitation efforts and his different approach to dealing with drug abuse and addiction, Governor Christie signed the bipartisan Overdose Protection Act (P.L. 2013, c.46) into law at a drug rehabilitation center in Paterson. The Governor was joined at the bill signing by Jon Bon Jovi, leading drug prevention advocates and family members of individuals lost to drug overdoses.

The legislation takes a two-prong approach to help prevent drug overdose deaths in New Jersey. First, it provides legal protection to people who are in violation of the law while they are attempting to help a drug overdose victim. Secondly, it eliminates negative legal action against health care professionals or bystanders who administer overdose antidotes in life-threatening situations.

· Supporting Successful Transition For Those Who Have Sought Out Treatment And Counseling Services From Inside Prison. In April 2014, Governor Christie signed legislation that allows drug treatment programs in state prison facilities and jails to be licensed, providing a bridge to other state services like job training and assistance programs for inmates who have received counseling and treatment to stay off drugs and away from crime once they're released.

· Common-Sense Bail Reform To Bring Fairness For Non-Violent Offenders. Governor Christie signed bipartisan reforms to New Jersey’s bail system that have been in the making for two and a half years. These reforms make the bail system fairer by allowing those who commit minor, nonviolent offenses to have nonmonetary options instead of being confined to jail because they simply cannot afford even low bail amounts.

· Integrating Substance Abuse Treatment With Employment Services: Governor Christie is going further in helping those with drug addiction reclaim their lives in a permanent way, by taking the lead on an innovative initiative to integrate substance abuse treatment with employment services like job training, skills acquisition, and job-search and placement resources.

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