Opioid Epidemic

NJ County Jails Getting $7.8M for Opioid-Addiction Treatment

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What to Know

  • New Jersey will provide $7.8 million to county jails to support opioid addiction treatment for inmates
  • The funding announced Thursday will also create community partnerships needed to ensure that treatment continues once an inmate is released from jail
  • The preliminary 2019 year-end data shows the loss of 3,021 New Jerseyans to suspected overdose deaths -- a three percent decrease in the number of individuals lost compared to 2018, state officials say

New Jersey will provide $7.8 million to county jails to support opioid addiction treatment for inmates.

The funding announced Thursday will also create community partnerships needed to ensure that treatment continues once an inmate is released from jail, officials said, noting that people leaving jails are particularly vulnerable to opioid overdose.

“The opioid epidemic has devastated too many families and communities across New Jersey,” Gov. Phily Murphy said in a statement. “To end this scourge, my Administration is guided by a collaborative, comprehensive, and multi-pronged approach across several departments and agencies."

Murphy went on to say that the state invested $100 million in each of his first two budgets "to increase availability of medication-assisted treatment, provide greater access to Naloxone, enhance education and outreach efforts, and strengthen social supports for housing and employment. Today’s data gives us confidence that the targeted, evidence-based, and data-driven whole-of-government approach we are taking is making progress in our fight to end the opioid crisis in New Jersey.”  

This initiative builds on a state prison program conducted by the state's human services and Corrections departments, which provides peer services that expand pre- and post-release recovery support services for inmates.

In October, the Department of Human Services announced the availability of State funding for county jails across the State to initiate opioid addiction treatment in jail and to connect individuals to community-based treatment post-release. 

“The overdose epidemic is a complex, evolving public health challenge,”  Department of Health Acting Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli said in a statement. “To help ensure more residents are connected to services and treatment, the Department of Health is engaging healthcare providers, harm reduction centers, local health officials and emergency care providers to build on the state’s comprehensive and integrated approach to reduce overdoses.”

Meanwhile, the state's Department of Corrections Acting Commissioner Marcus Hicks said in a statement that his department is committed on partnering with the Murphy Administration on finding sustainable solutions to combat substance abuse disorders.

“Our correctional MAT program, paired with behavioral therapy and support services is one way we support successful reentry into society. Subsequently, our comprehensive treatment efforts show promise in reducing recidivism rates and ultimately saves lives," Hicks said.

Murphy also announced Thursday preliminary 2019 year-end opioid statistics for New Jersey and reaffirmed his commitment to ending the opioid epidemic through a comprehensive, multi-pronged collaboration across several state departments and agencies. Murphy's approach includes increasing access to evidence-based prevention and treatment programs in our communities, supporting individuals on their path to and maintenance of recovery, supporting data-driven work and strengthening system-wide infrastructure, and using robust law enforcement to stem the supply of illicit drugs.

The preliminary 2019 year-end data shows the loss of 3,021 New Jerseyans to suspected overdose deaths. This data suggests a three percent decrease in the number of individuals lost compared to 2018 and a six percent decline in the number of opioids prescribed statewide.  

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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