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NJ Government Announces 8 Million to Treat Opioid Addiction in Jails

By: Shannon Persad October 2, 2019 no comments

NJ Government Announces 8 Million to Treat Opioid Addiction in Jails

In recent events, the Murphy Administration in New Jersey has increased its efforts to fight the opioid crisis. This comes after New Jersey announced they received $7.4 million in grants from the federal government to fight the opioid overdose epidemic at the beginning of September.

Now, the Murphy Administration will collaborate with county jails to reduce opioid overdose among the “justice-involved” population, as the Administration believes they are at high-risk for overdose after post-release.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections, alongside the New Jersey Department of Health, will fund county correctional facilities to administer medicated-assisted treatment (MAT) to those with opioid addictions.

What is Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “medicated-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA-approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.”

SAMHSA must approve the medications for Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP) while making it mandatory for MAT patients to receive counseling and therapy. The most common medications used to treat those with an opioid disorder are methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine.

The goal for MAT is to help patients fully recover from their opioid use disorder. SAMHSA states MAT does work and provides the following outcomes:

  • Increase the survival rates of patients.
  • Improve retention in treatment.
  • Decrease crime and illicit use of opiate drugs.
  • Improve patient’s employment.
  • Increase birth outcomes for women who are pregnant with substance use disorder.


Individuals currently in jail that are diagnosed with an opioid addiction will receive treatment before they are released, and it will continue post-release.

The Human Services Commissioner Carol Johnson states individuals who leave prison are vulnerable to an opioid overdose.

The Department of Health’s Acting Commission Judith Perschilli expresses that these medications work and save lives. The Acting Commissioner also states individuals who participate in a MAT program are less likely to overdose and less likely to transmit or contract diseases. These individuals may stay in treatment longer and enjoy long-term outcomes too.

To read more about New Jersey’s bold efforts to fight opioid addiction in state prisons, click here.

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