Trenton – In an effort to further combat the growing epidemic of substance abuse, the Senate Budget Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego and Senator Troy Singleton which would dedicate all current and future Opioid Settlement dollars solely to addiction services and ensure opioid antidotes are accessible to all residents.
“New Jersey families have long suffered from the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Senator Addiego (D – Burlington/Camden/Atlantic). “Dedicating these dollars now will prevent future diversions and ensure the money is used to save lives and not fill budget gaps. Billions of dollars from the 1998 tobacco settlement never made it back to the people who were impacted the most; monies were largely diverted to other programs. Not learning from those mistakes would be tragic.”
The bill, S-3867, would require the money that has already been received and any additional opioid settlement monies be placed in a New Jersey State Treasury ‘Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund.’ This fund would be dedicated solely to supplementing substance use disorder prevention and treatment programs and services in the State.
“The number of suspected fatal overdoses from opioids statewide rose from just over 1,200 in 2011 to over 3,000 in 2020,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “That’s a staggering 40% increase over the last decade. This legislation would ensure that the opioid settlement funds are being used to help those most impacted by the opioid crisis, and would dedicate the money specifically for addiction services and prevention programs.”
The Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund Advisory Council, established under the bill would provide the Department of Human Services with recommendations on the allocation of funds from the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund, as well as any policy modifications necessary to maximize the use of those funds on a state and local level.
A second bill, S-3800, would require health insurers, Medicaid, NJ FamilyCare, SHBP and SEHBP to provide coverage for opioid antidotes without imposing prior authorization requirements.
Both bills were released from committee by votes of 12-0.