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New Jersey Opioid Deaths Spike in 2020; Governor Murphy Reacts

Last week, Governor Phil Murphy led a roundtable discussion in Ocean County to address the ongoing battle against opioids in the state of New Jersey.  His impromptu forum came in response to the alarming data regarding New Jersey opioid deaths for the month of January.

New Jersey officials indicated that 280 opioid-related deaths took place in January, an uptick from 203 in January 2019. This figure perhaps contradicts the significant decrease in opioid-related deaths from 2018 to 2019. Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a trend, or an outlier in an otherwise positive trajectory.

As a result, Governor Murphy introduced new efforts to battle the opioid epidemic on a local level, stemming from a $1.7 million grant for the state of New Jersey.  Counties such as Camden County and Burlington County will receive upwards of $100,000 to develop recovery centers that focus on peer support to achieve and sustain long-term recovery. Cumberland County and Cape May County have also been cited as recipients of the state’s funding.

An effort to increase peer support in recovery is promising, as lawmakers are starting to recognize what works and what does not in terms of addiction recovery. Governor Murphy indicated that if his department “sees something in that data that suggests that we need to tweak our approach, we will do it.”

In addition, Narcan will be made more readily available for first responders, as over 50,000 doses of the opioid-reversing measure will be dispersed across 400 departments throughout New Jersey. We have recently seen neighboring metropolitan hubs introduce Narcan on the front lines as well.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and provide an update on the New Jersey Opioid death data for the month of February.

As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out.  One phone call with our Executive Director can point you in the right direction for adequate treatment services.