State awards $7.8M to county jails to support opioid addiction treatment

TRENTON, NJ — State funding awards totaling $7.8 million will be given to county correctional facilities to provide medication-assisted opioid treatment to individuals with opioid addiction in county jails, according to a recent press release. Essex County’s jail will receive $700,000.

The funding will also create community partnerships to ensure that treatment continues post-release. Medication-assisted opioid treatment is the clinical standard of care for opioid addiction. Funding is made possible through Gov. Phil Murphy’s Opioid Initiative.

“Individuals leaving jail are particularly vulnerable to opioid overdose, and the death rate post-release from jail is significantly higher than in the overall population,” Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “It is imperative that we treat people with opioid-use disorder with the clinical standard of care before they are released and maintain treatment post-release. We are pleased that the county wardens are partnering with us in this critical effort to provide medication-assisted opioid treatment. We look forward to working together with them to turn the tide of this epidemic.”

This initiative builds on New Jersey’s prison medication-assisted opioid treatment program, where Human Services and the Department of Corrections partner to bring addiction treatment into state prisons. The collaboration is providing peer services that expand pre- and post-release recovery support services to individuals within the Department of Corrections with an opioid-use disorder or other substance-use disorder, and facilitates continuity of care and treatment that includes comprehensive medical, substance-use treatment and social services.

“Through this powerful collaboration, we are connecting them to lifesaving treatment at a catalytic moment and getting individuals back on track to leading healthy and fulfilling lives,” acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “From a public health perspective, it is these types of bold and evidence-based initiatives that will ultimately lead to reducing the stigma around the epidemic and getting us to the other side.”