The Opioid Epidemic – New Jersey and Gov. Chris Christie
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Sadly, opioid use and deaths associated with the use of heroin and fentanyl (a synthetic form of heroin that is 50 times more potent than street heroin) have been on the rise in New Jersey since 2010. According to a recent article on NJ.com, the New Jersey Office of the State Medical Examiner reported 1,587 drug-overdose deaths occurred in 2015 – up 21 percent from 2014. Moreover, since 2004, more than 6,000 NJ residents have died as a result of heroin overdose. More alarming, though, is the statistic related to the use of fentanyl: 417 deaths have been attributed to the use and overdose of fentanyl – up more than eight times the total recorded in 2014.
|Year||Total Overdose Deaths||Heroin/Morphine||Fentanyl|
This data illustrates that heroin and opioid use have reached a point of crisis in New Jersey and unfortunately, is still out of control. However, the opioid epidemic reaches beyond New Jersey, affecting every state in America. According to the Surgeon General, an American dies every 19 minutes from an overdose of heroin or prescription opioids.
At the state level, Gov. Chris Christie has been making efforts since his first term to address this crisis head-on. During his tenor, he has signed into law “the most aggressive health-insurance protections for people seeking addiction services in the country, mandating insurance to cover six months of inpatient or outpatient services. No more pre-approvals. No more medical necessity reviews prior to admission by an insurance-company bureaucrat. No more denials that can cost lives. Treatment first, hope first, denials last.” This, among many other initiatives, has highlighted the governor’s passion for those affected by addiction which stems from personal experience, sadly losing a college roommate to a drug overdose. In a statement made in his 2017 State of the State address, Gov. Christie stated, “Our friends are dying. Our neighbors are dying. Our co-workers are dying. Our children are dying. Every day. In numbers we can no longer ignore.”
Recently Gov. Christie was appointed by President Donald Trump to lead the White House Opiate Task Force. Those supporting the appointment have stated that they believe that if the White House can face the opiate crisis as aggressively as Gov. Christie has in New Jersey, then this development could be promising.
If you or someone you love is facing challenges, Christian Health is here to help! Visit our website to learn more.
Article – Overdose deaths skyrocket in NJ as opioid epidemic proves unassailable (nj.com)
Article – NJ Governor Chris Christie to lead White House Opiate Task Force –https://www.facingaddiction.org/news/2017/03/30/new-jersey-governor-chris-christie-lead-white-house-opiate-task-force