More Help Available for NJ Residents Battling Substance Abuse

Even as concerns about COVID continue to diminish and many facets of life return to normal, drug overdose deaths in New Jersey remain a significant concern.

Last year in the Garden State there were 3,124 suspected opioid overdose deaths, the highest total on record.

New Jersey Department of Social Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who leads the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division, says new grants are being made in 9 counties to establish community peer recovery centers.

Individual support

She said these places provide a safe space where people recovering from substance use disorder can receive treatment information as well as a variety of recovery support services, including nutrition, wellness, self-care, stress management, financial management, job skills and parenting. .

“It’s important that individuals receive support services and information on how to manage all of these many areas of their lives,” she said.

Supportive therapist comforting a young man who lost his parents in bereavement group therapy

Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

She noted that services at recovery centers are provided by people who have lived experience and people who have a history of substance abuse themselves.

Mielke pointed out that although a recovery center does not offer real addiction treatment, “it gives people who are contemplating or starting to embark on the path of recovery hope that recovery is possible” .

She stressed that support groups and services, as well as medications that help those struggling with opioid abuse break free from their addiction, are all important.

Many opportunities

Mielke said New Jersey “offers a lot of different opportunities for people to start understanding the disease of addiction and understanding what that journey of recovery can look like for them.

Anyone affected by addiction can call 1-844-REACH-NJ.

There are 10 counties that have already received this funding. The new grants were awarded to the following organizations:

• Burlington – Burlington County
• Camden – Family Service Center
• Cape May – Cape Regional Medical Center
• Hudson – Prevention Links
• Hunterdon – Prevention Resources
• Middlesex – Prevention Links
• Monmouth – Prevention Resources
• Ocean – Hope Sheds Light
• Somerset – Community in Crisis Inc.

Each organization will receive a $100,000 grant for seed funding to cover staff, office space, supplies and equipment such as vehicles, laptops and cell phones.

The grants are funded by Federal Opioid Response Funding from the Federal Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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