Mental Health Association starts help line for heroin, painkiller addiction

Beth Fitzgerald//January 13, 2015

Mental Health Association starts help line for heroin, painkiller addiction

Beth Fitzgerald//January 13, 2015

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey has launched NJ Connect for Recovery, a free, confidential help line for individuals and families coping with addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers.The toll-free phone number for NJ Connect for Recovery is (855) 652-3737 and the line for the hearing impaired is (877) 294-4356. Information is also available online at njconnectforrecovery.org/.

“NJ Connect for Recovery is a private/public partnership,” said William Waldman, chair of MHANJ’s board, faculty member of the Rutgers University School of Social Work and a former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

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Waldman said the help line is a collaboration between MHANJ, the state Division of Mental Health and Addition Services, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the pharmaceutical company Actavis plc. Waldman said, “Our goal is to address the opiate misuse crisis by enhancing services to those who are addicted and providing guidance and support to their loved ones  who have often been at a loss about how to find help.”

MHANJ said NJ Connect for Recovery offers a two-pronged approach to provide the most appropriate assistance for callers in need. People calling on behalf of themselves have access to a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Those calling on behalf of a family member or friend are connected to a peer specialist who understands the effect of addiction on personal relationships.

The NJ Connect for Recovery Call Line is funded by Actavis, a Dublin-based pharmaceutical company with offices in Parsippany. MHANJ said that, in addition to supporting the NJ Connect for Recovery Call Line, Actavis supports prescription drug take-back programs in communities throughout the U.S. and partners with various prescription drug abuse prevention, education and recovery organizations.

Lynn Kovich, assistant commissioner of the state Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said the division “is pleased that MHANJ has secured this public/private partnership to manage a helpline dedicated to individuals and their families struggling with opioid use.”

Kovich said the agency has coordinated the efforts of NJ Connect for Recovery with the state’s existing 211 addictions hotline, “in order to provide multiple points of access for consumers and their families to receive much-needed information, referral and early intervention services regarding substance use. NJ Connect for Recovery is an asset to assist our state’s residents with their opiate addiction.”

MHANJ is asking organizations, businesses and individuals to join a statewide effort, the Tell 2 Friends Campaign, to help spread the word about NJ Connect for Recovery.

“There is no cost involved to groups and individuals who join in,” said Robert Kley, MHANJ chief operating officer. “We are just asking for their help in spreading the word to their constituents, clients and friends by sharing information that we provide. We are happy to have over 25 organizations signed up to work with us, and the list is growing every day.”


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