POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Christie announces $35 million to fight opioid crisis

BY NJTV News Staff |

Continuing his commitment to fight the opioid crisis in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday announced the state has awarded more than $35 million to provide intensive services to those with severe opioid use disorders, and pregnant and postpartum mothers and older adults with opioid painkiller dependencies.

“To ensure treatment is successful, it is essential that systems of care join seamlessly to treat the whole individual,” said Christie. “This funding supports the type of integration of behavioral and primary health care I envisioned when transferring the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health.”

Enhanced Care Management (ECM) grants of $10 million each were awarded to Beacon Health Options of Boston (Northern and Central Regions) and Oaks Integrated Care of Mount Holly (Southern Region) to provide intensive, integrated services for people with severe opioid disorders and individuals who have experienced an overdose episode.

Once the programs are operating, the Department of Health (DOH) will make an additional $8.6 million available in performance-based incentive grants to those providers in the program.

In addition to the ECM contracts, DOH also recently awarded $5 million in new contracts to expand integrated substance abuse treatment and medical care for pregnant woman and new mothers who are addicted to heroin and other opioids. Through these competitive contracts, the New Jersey Department of Health will provide funding to expand residential and outpatient treatment programs and recovery options for pregnant women, new mothers, and babies.

Each of the ECM providers is expected to treat 1,800 people who are on Medicaid or Medicaid eligible, with priority counties being Camden, Essex, and Ocean. The program, funded by Christie’s recently announced $200 million for initiatives to fight the opioid crisis, will provide people with the most acute disorders a variety of treatment, support, and recovery services at site-based and mobile settings.

The contracts for services for opioid-dependent pregnant and postpartum women are expected to provide residential treatment for at least 882 women. Since 2011, New Jersey has seen between 500 and 630 addicted babies born each year with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Within 24-72 hours after birth, newborns with NAS can experience severe withdrawal symptoms. They also could have a higher risk of premature death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“This approach to residential treatment of pregnant women and new mothers in a specialized, integrated program will promote long-term recovery while offering ongoing medical care and support services,” said Christie. “Treatment can help restore a mother’s physical and psychological health and give babies a fair start in life.