What problem does it solve? With opioid abuse reaching epidemic levels many resources (both State and Federal) have been allocated to multiple Departments throughout the State. This has led to the reality of duplicate efforts to combat the same problem. Often, this duplication is identified as Department begin planning and communicating with fellow Department on implementation plans. Formation of a Joint Task Force would allow a central planning area for “all things” related to the SUD “opioid Epidemic” regionally. What is your solution and who does it apply to? This solution would be the development of a State Task Force with the responsibility of coordinating all efforts relating to SUD (opioid), minimizing duplicate efforts, and work directly with the Governor Office to minimize “red tape” procedural roadblocks that cause loss of funding due to grant expiration prior to project implementation. This solution would apply to all agencies receiving and State or Federal funding to address SUD (opioid) issues. This would include (but not be limited to): Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Attorney General’s Office, Department of Health (including Office of EMS), Department of Human Services, State Police, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, and well as volunteer citizens (families) affected by SUD. Additionally, the Task Force would be responsible to coordinate efforts, share program ideas, and successes with other States (including working with them to develop a similar task force if one does not currently exist. What is the anticipated impact? The anticipated impact would be great utilization of resources. It would allow for a synergistic effect to existing programs while reducing duplication of efforts. Grant dollars meant to help those in need would be “fast tracked” to support programs that directly affect their emergency treatment, recognition, and recovery efforts causing less waste. New Jersey would become a model for Opioid/SUD treatment, maximizing grant dollar utilization, and minimizing waste. With chairing the coordination of states in the Region, New Jersey can leverage its interstate “consortium” to further expand programs as well as Federal funding opportunities.
Addressing the problem at hand, whether it is child abuse/neglect, commission of crimes, homelessness, etc. without addressing the underlying substance abuse is completely futile.
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