U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, both Democrats, announced on Tuesday a $500,000 federal grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to ensure Atlantic County first responders are properly trained to administer emergency treatment to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose.
The grant will also allow the county to establish a referral process for individuals seeking treatment and recovery options.
“Opioid abuse affects individuals and families from all walks of life and all parts of our state,” said Menendez a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy. “This funding will help prepare first responders and ensure they have the tools necessary to save lives. Tackling this epidemic takes an all-hands-on approach and I’ll continue fighting for the resources New Jersey needs,” said Menendez.
“Our nation’s opioid epidemic has taken a devastating toll on families and communities across New Jersey,” said Booker. “This federal investment will give Atlantic County’s First Responders access to the tools they need to better combat this crisis.”
Menendez said that according to state data, there have been 82 overdose-related deaths in Atlantic County so far this year. In 2018, there were 190 overdose-related deaths in the county and 895 naloxone administrations.
Last year, Menendez visited John Brooks Recovery Center in Atlantic County to highlight his efforts to help individuals and families struggling with addiction.
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act provides states with greater flexibility to broaden treatment options and support family-focused treatment programs to keep children out of foster care while a parent gains the tools necessary to succeed in recovery. The law also includes a measure, introduced with Booker, that expands the approach to pain management alternatives developed by St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson to dramatically reduce the use of opioids in emergency rooms.