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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Senator Richard J. Codey that would require the development and maintenance of a database to advise the public about open bed availability in residential substance use disorders treatment facilities was signed into law today.
Under the oversight of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the Department of Human Services, the law, S-2644, requires the development and maintenance of a database that would track daily information about the number of open beds available for treatment in each residential substance use disorders treatment facility in the State that receives State or county funding.
“We have a serious substance use problem in New Jersey, with heroin overdose rates on the rise. Often, treatment centers are at capacity but there is no repository of information regarding the number of beds available at any given state- or county-funded treatment facility,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “The lack of availability of this information creates hardships on patients and families seeking immediate access to treatment. It is important for residents and families who are battling addiction to know where to go for help, and this law will afford them that opportunity.”
According to the law, the information in the database must be prominently displayed on the DHS website and made available to the public, upon request, through the addictions telephone hotline and the statewide 2-1-1 telephone system.
“Providing information about open bed availability publicly is an important step towards successful substance abuse treatments, and I am pleased that this bill was signed into law,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex, Morris). “Long waits have been proven to hinder the treatment and recovery process, and our goal is to ensure access to treatment for those who need it, when they need it. If we have the resources or beds available, the public will now be able to access that information to seek treatment.”
Under the law, each residential substance use disorders treatment facility in the State that receives State or county funding is now required to submit to the database, at least once a day, information about the number of open beds that are available for treatment on that day.
The database will include, by county: the address and telephone number of the residential substance use disorders treatment facility; the type of services provided by the facility; the licensed bed capacity of the facility; and the number of open beds that are available for treatment, based on the daily information received from the residential substance use disorders treatment facilities.
The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 39-0 and cleared the Assembly by a vote of 72-0. The law takes effect immediately.