As New Jersey continues to face an opioid epidemic, Bill S783 aims to provide a piece of the solution.

This bill, introduced in January, will establish the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund and the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund Advisory Council. This allows the funds received from opioid settlements to support substance use prevention and treatment programs.

Senator Lesniak spoke on the issue this morning in Trenton:

I’m here to support Senator Singleton’s legislation, S783, which establishes The Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund Advocacy Council to provide the Department of Human Services with recommendations on the allocation of funds appropriated to the Department from the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund. 

S783 will be of great benefit to New Jersey teenagers who struggle with abuse of alcohol and drugs. New Jersey leads the United States in percentage of teens exposed to drugs on school property.

This troubling statistic calls out for action to help students who are diagnosed with substance use disorder. That’s the mission of recovery high schools which have opened in Union, Monmouth and Cape May Counties. 

Among uses of the funds delineated in S783 are: “Programs to prevent substance use disorder through a youth-focused public health education and prevention campaign, including school-based prevention, early intervention, health care services and programs to reduce the risk of substance use by school-aged children.”

Early intervention should include, as S783 states, “supporting individuals in recovery from opioid use disorder.” That’s where Recovery High Schools come in. 

In Providence, Rhode Island, a study found that ninety-three percent of students report being offered drugs on their first day back to school following substance abuse treatment. Within 90 days of returning to school, 50 percent of students resume using at levels at or above where they were before treatment.” Based on New Jersey’s position as the number one state where students are exposed to drugs on school property, that troubling statistic would apply equally to our schools. 

Union, Monmouth and Cape May Counties stand alone in offering an alternative for students in recovery to get an education in a safe environment without peer pressure to use again. Students in other regions of the state should also have that opportunity through use of Opioid Settlement funds to establish Recovery High Schools to every region of the State. 

Senator Singleton’s legislation outlines a comprehensive approach to maximize the effectiveness of funds from the Opioid Settlement, particularly to help our teenagers. I urge your support. Thank you.