In his final year, Christie aims to tackle drug crisis

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Christie stated Tuesday that he’ll focus in his ultimate yr in workplace on New Jersey’s drug epidemic, together with promising to restrict the availability of opioid medicine docs can initially prescribe and looking for laws to require insurers to pay for no less than six months of drug remedy.

Christie turned nearly all of his seventh state of the state handle, often an hour-lengthy speech concerning the governor’s numerous priorities, into an impassioned speech laying out his plans to deal with a drug disaster that’s claiming tons of of lives a yr.

“I can’t have the blood of addicted New Jerseyans on my arms as a result of we waited to behave,” Christie stated. “I can’t willingly watch one other 1,600 of our residents die and watch their households mourn and endure.”

Almost 1,600 individuals in New Jersey died from drug overdoses in 2015, a rise of about 20 % over 2014, based on knowledge from the state medical expert’s workplace. Most of these got here from opioids, together with heroin and fentanyl.

Democratic leaders applauded Christie’s give attention to drug remedy, but in addition stated that there are different main points dealing with the state that lawmakers and Christie have to cope with, together with faculty funding.

“In case you closed your eyes, you’d assume you have been listening to a Democrat giving a speech,” stated Democratic senate President Steve Sweeney. “We welcome this dialog on habit. We’d like conversations on an entire host of different points.”

Christie has targeted a lot of his time in workplace on the difficulty of drug habit, and in addition made addressing the opioid epidemic a key plank in his unsuccessful presidential marketing campaign. Whereas in workplace, he has expanded drug courts and signed measures that embrace increasing using the overdose-prevention drug naloxone and a prescription monitoring program.

Amongst Christie’s coverage proposals outlined Tuesday:

—He stated that he was having his lawyer common put collectively laws to require that docs solely initially prescribe a 5-day provide of opioid medicine for acute ache. A handful of states, together with Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine, have enacted comparable restrictions prior to now yr.

—Christie stated that he was altering guidelines in order that 18- and 19-yr-olds may be thought-about youngsters to chop down on ready lists for remedy beds.

—He referred to as on state lawmakers to approve a change to require insurers to pay for at the least six months of…

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