Forcefully declaring “our neighbors are dying,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used his State of the State address this week to promise he will fight drug addiction during his remaining time in office, reports NJ.com. Christie, limping into his last full year in office with an approval ranking him as one of the most unpopular governors in New Jersey’s modern history, called on lawmakers to join him in his push to “fight this fight more aggressively.”
He laid out his plans in a sometimes somber, heartfelt, and passionate address that lasted an hour and 15 minutes, with about an hour of it focused solely on the “crisis of drug addiction,” including a dozen new initiatives. “I will not have the blood of addicted New Jerseyans on my hands by waiting to act,” Christie said. He encouraged lawmakers to support legislation saying that nobody with health insurance can be denied coverage for the first six months of in-patient or outpatient treatment. He announced an additional $5 million for the statewide expansion of what he said was a successful pilot program on pediatric behavioral health. Christie also announced an initiative to press the state’s attorney general to try and limit the supply of opioid-based pain medications by health care providers from 30 days to five days.