WASHINGTON — New Jersey is getting $1 million from the federal government to expand heroin and opiad treatment.

The funds will go to three health centers, Atlanticare in Egg Harbor Township, which will receive $325,000; Henry J. Austin in Trenton,$352,083; and Project Hope in Trenton, $324,316.

The money will be used primarily for medication-assisted treatment. Heroin and opioid admissions accounted for 49 percent of all substance abuse admissions in New Jersey, the highest in at least a decade.

"We have lost far too many Americans to drug overdoses," said Jackie Cornell-Bechelli, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Access to treatment is one of the biggest challenges we face." 

Separately, President Barack Obama in his proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 requested $1.1 billion over two years for the treatment and prevention of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

Opioid addiction has become a major problem across the U.S. In New Jersey, if all 128,000 heroin addicts lived in the same place, it would be the state's fourth largest city. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that opioids, which include prescription pain medications and heroin, were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014.

The Senate earlier this week passed legislation to address the issue, including providing more first responders with naloxone, a drug administered to individuals who overdose.

"We need to do whatever we can to address this national opioid addiction epidemic that continues to grip and devastate New Jersey families," said U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). "Addiction to heroin and prescription opioids has negatively impacted countless families and cost too many lives not to act."

Both Menendez and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) co-sponsored the measure, which passed, 94-1, on Thursday.

"We cannot stand idly by and watch this growing epidemic jeopardize the health and welfare of so many of our friends and neighbors," Booker said. 

Reps. Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.), Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-9th Dist.) co-sponsored similar legislation awaiting House passage.

Separately, President Barack Obama in his proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 requested $1.1 billion over two years for the treatment and prevention of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.has introduced legislation to spend $500 million a year to deal with the issue, including training doctors who prescribe opioids, funds for first responders and others to treat those who overdose, and expanded drug treatment.

Gov. Chris Christie in 2014 established a task force to deal with addiction, setting up programs to respond to those who survived overdoses and to providing support to help former prisoners who were addicted to drugs.

A video of Christie expressing compassion rather than condemnation for drug addicts garnered millions of views last fall.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/03/nj_gets_1_million_to_fight_opioid_and_heroin_addic.html