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Pou, Ruiz Bill Expanding Addiction Recovery Programs Advances


TRENTON – In an effort to bolster and sustain addiction recovery programs across the state, the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz that would allocate $1,995,000 from the “Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund to the DHS – the bulk of which would supplement federal funds appropriated to counties for addiction services under recovery support systems known as STAR and STAR Jail expansion programs:


The funds stem partly from legal settlements that the State of New Jersey received from manufacturers, distributors and retailers who were involved in one way or another in the boom in the opioid availability that helped to fuel an opioid addiction crisis that continues to plague families across the country.


“This money is a needed infusion for those individuals in our midst who continue to suffer, and who continue to need treatment services,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We believe that this expansion of funds, and the promise that it brings will reach people who have nowhere else to turn, and families who have endured indescribable grief, as well as emotional and financial stress because of this crisis.”


Senator Pou has been a long-time champion and advocate for greater addiction services and treatment for those associated with the justice system, or have lately been released from jail and face myriad challenges upon re-entry, including treatment for opioid addiction.


“This is part of our State’s comprehensive effort to address the opioid crisis and effectively treat, rather than punish, substance use disorder,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex), “The legal settlement funds from opioid companies give us an opportunity to reverse some of the catastrophic impacts that opioid addiction has had on our State, and this bill is part of seizing that opportunity.”


The bill, S-4016, was released from committee by a vote of 7-0.