TRENTON — The Murphy Administration announced today that New Jersey will receive three federal grants totaling $30.6 million to fight the opioid crisis through initiatives aimed at preventing overdoses, and expanding treatment and recovery services.
“Every day, the opioid epidemic devastates communities and families in all corners of our state. New Jersey is working diligently to develop and implement data-driven strategies that will save lives and expand treatment options for those struggling with addiction,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This funding will help us provide expanded services to those suffering from addiction and build a healthier, safer state for all.”
The three grants are:
$21,566,035 from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) for a series of initiatives to expand access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), Narcan, and alternatives to opioid pain medication.
$5,633,509 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services in New Jersey’s Federally Qualified Health Centers.
$3,412,500 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Department of Health to assist counties in expanding treatment, prevent Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and expand alternatives to opioid pain medication.
Governor Murphy has also committed $100 million in state resources to fight this epidemic through a strategic, coordinated multi-agency effort. That funding will be used to expand outpatient treatment, enhance real-time data collection and focus on the risk factors and social supports that help people on the path to recovery.
Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal and Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson explained that the $21.5 million SAMHSA grant will fund targeted initiatives including increasing access to MAT, which has proven instrumental in treating opioid use disorder and reducing overdoses; expanding access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone and alternatives to opioid pain medication; and tools to identify the presence of the deadly drug fentanyl.
It will also fund training for First Responders to assist and promote recovery services, re-entry services for detainees, expansion of telehealth services, and expansion of programs designed to reduce reliance on opioid pain medication.
Commissioner Elnahal noted the opioid epidemic is on track to take 3,000 lives in New Jersey this year. “That’s why the Murphy Administration is taking bold steps to attack the epidemic from all sides including Medication Assisted Treatment along multiple stages of an individual’s journey through recovery and through the criminal justice system,” Commissioner Elnahal said.
“Increasing access to medication assisted treatment to treat opioid use disorder is vital if we’re going to effectively tackle this crisis,” DHS Commissioner Johnson said. “This funding will help us advance Governor Murphy’s commitment to combating the opioid epidemic and our work to prevent overdoses and support recovery. New Jerseyans have lost far too many friends and family members to this epidemic and it is time to turn the tide.”
The DMHAS applied to SAMHSA for the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant, which includes funds that can be used to provide treatment, transition and coverage for patients reentering communities from criminal justice settings and/or other rehabilitative settings.
The SAMHSA grant will also fund the expansion of the Buprenorphine Medical Support, Support Teams for Addiction Recovery (STAR), and Oxford House Outreach and the continuation of Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP).
The grant also will fund programs, like the nationally acclaimed one at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, which provides alternatives to opioids in the Emergency Department, obstetrics and dental departments. St. Joseph’s reduced opioid use by 86 percent over two years.
The Department of Health is also collaborating with the Department of Corrections to initiate MAT for individuals who are incarcerated in state, county and municipal jails.
DMHAS, in collaboration with DOC, is establishing three Intensive Recovery Support Teams (IRST) for prison inmates on MAT. The IRST teams will work in prisons, connect with these inmates ready to be released and link them in the community with recovery services necessary to support wellness and successful community integration.
They will help with such issues as SUD treatment adherence, employment and skill training, housing, health and opportunities and skills to enhance the individual’s involvement in meaningful life activities.
Statewide, DMHAS funds five MAT mobile vans for those with OUD in Atlantic City, Camden, Paterson, Plainfield and Trenton at an annual total cost of $4.3 million. The Atlantic County Jail collaborates with the John Brooks Recovery Center to provide MAT through a mobile van.