Addiction treatment and drug-related law enforcement were focal points of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's state of the state speech yesterday, as the governor sought to refocus attention from last year’s George Washington Bridge scandal to his legislative achievements and second-term agenda. Christie praised the state's addiction treatment policies and programs, and proposed an expansion of drug treatment services to include employment services and long-term substance abuse care. The proposed initiative would provide $500,000 in grant funds, managed with the Newark-based Nicholson Foundation, to place and support recovering addicts in jobs, reports the Bergen Record
“We will work directly with treatment providers to integrate employment services with treatment services for drug court participants,” Christie said. New Jersey has seen a marked increase in heroin and opiate addiction, accompanied by an uptick in overdose deaths, drug-related crime, and drags on economic growth.. In 2012, nearly 1,200 New Jersey residents died of drug overdoses, andstate officials have estimated that 70 percent of inmates in jails or prisons in the state are drug addicts or alcoholics. He did not mention a report by a task force commissioned by the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction that has been languishing. The report was intended to be a blueprint for reform.