Gov. Chris Christie has pledged to set aside an additional $200 million to fight the opioid crisis.
Christie made the announcement at the Integrity House Treatment Center in Newark on Tuesday, just two months after he failed to convince the state’s Assembly to pass a bill that would have raided Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s reserve fund in order to pay for opioid addiction treatment.
Christie said during the announcement that the money would go to support effective programs already in place as well as new programs, which include initiatives to require state run medical schools to offer courses on addiction, as well as encourage treatment facilities to train and offer “recovery coaches” to those in the early stages of addiction recovery.
Christie has made it clear over the past several months that he wants tackling the opioid epidemic to be his signature issue before he steps down from office in January. In addressing critics of the plan, Christie told the crowd that "the easiest thing in the world to do is to be a watcher and not a doer."
Christie said that the plan is not related to President Donald Trump’s delayed decision on whether to declare a national state of emergency over the opioid epidemic. Such a declaration could have provided extra funding to New Jersey, which has been hit especially hard by the crisis.
“The fact is we're still doing all the things we need to do," Christie said. "You just don't flip a switch. You have to make sure you motivate people the right way, you get the resources in the right place.”