Faced with a public health crisis that has left hundreds of young New Jerseyans dead, the governor's task force on heroin and opiate abuse will call today for a wide array of reforms to combat the state's addiction epidemic, saying it's “time to confront our demons.” The Newark Star-Ledger says the group is proposing major changes to the state's prescription pill monitoring laws, improvements to an insurance system that stacks the deck against drug addicts, and expanded use of recovery communities for students with opioid addiction.
The result of a two-year study, the findings are tantamount to a road map designed to combat addiction as the number of drug-related deaths in the state is skyrocketing, rising 53 percent from 2010 to 2012, with more than two-thirds of those fatalities involving prescription drug abuse. The report details a two-pronged approach to tackling the state's addiction problem. State officials want to stem the tide of prescription pills flowing from doctor's offices and medicine cabinets that creates new addicts, while improving a failing rehab system. The 16-member panel that drafted the report included medical professionals, representatives from the addiction treatment community, law enforcement leaders and former Gov. James McGreevey.