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The Opioid Epidemic in New Jersey — an NJ Spotlight Roundtable

As the Garden State continues to stem the tide of opioid deaths, funding must be found for new initiatives and emerging evidence-based protocols

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Dr. Shereef Elnahal (center), NJ Commissioner of Health, flanked by Dr. Mark S. Rosenberg (left), and Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien

In many ways New Jersey has become a national model for its response to the ongoing opioid epidemic. With significant public dollars allocated to treatment and recovery programs under former Gov. Chris Christie, providers are eager to explore new clinical options for prevention and care. But the challenge continues to grow: Opioids killed more than 1,600 state residents in 2016.

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Ashley Koning, ​director, Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling

Now, powerful new drug cocktails are driving that number even higher, overdose reversal drugs are becoming less effective and treatment centers remain overwhelmed. However, New Jersey may now be at a turning point: While many Christie initiatives are now underway, Gov. Phil Murphy has suspended $102 million in opioid program funding – more than half of what the former governor committed in his final months – and pledged to redirect these dollars into evidence-based priorities of his own.

In Part 1 of a 3-event series, this NJ Spotlight roundtable helped define today's critical concerns and explored the medical and legislative dimensions of prevention and harm Reduction.

View the interactive map to track the opioid death toll across New Jersey.

Keynote

Ashley Koning, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor, Director, Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling,>br/>Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Download Keynote Presentation: Opioids in the Garden State

Panelists

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Commissioner, State of New Jersey Department of Health

Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien, Executive Director, Hyacinth.org

Dr. Mark S. Rosenberg, Chairman of Emergency Medicine and Chief Innovation
Officer, St. Joseph’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services —
Pain Management Task Force

Dr. Ramon Solhkhah, Founding Chairman, Department of Psychiatry &
Behavioral Health, Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Health & Pediatrics, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine; Chairman, Department of Psychiatry,
Jersey Shore Univ. Medical Center

Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Chairman, Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee, Vice-Chairman, Labor Committee

Moderator

Lilo H. Stainton, Healthcare Reporter, NJ Spotlight

Related Editorial

Prevention, Risk Reduction Focus of First NJ Spotlight Opioid Roundtable

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