Report Finds New Jersey Has One of the Lowest Overdose Death Rates in the Nation and Gives New Jersey a High Score for Proactive and Effective Strategies to Address Issue
Trenton, NJ— A new report from the Trust for America’s Health provides support for New Jersey’s approach to dealing with the public health problem of prescription drug abuse. The New Jersey section of the report finds that New Jersey has the 11th lowest drug overdose death rate in the nation.
The report also ranked states in terms of proactive and effective strategies for addressing prescription drug abuse, giving New Jersey seven on a scale of 10 possible points. New Jersey received two points for having a Good Samaritan law providing legal protection for those who call 911 in an overdose situation, and a law expanding access to naloxone, the antidote to opioid overdoses. These two statutes were part of the Overdose Prevention Act which was sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), passed with bi-partisan support and was signed by Governor Christie in May. Governor Christie signed the law at a public event attend by rocker Jon Bon Jovi and more than two dozen parents who had lost children to accidental overdoses.
“This is very encouraging news,” said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the organization that led the advocacy campaign supporting the Overdose Prevention Act. “Drug overdose is a serious public health issue and New Jersey has taken an effective and proactive public health approach. Hopefully other states will follow New Jersey’s lead and implement some of these life-saving policies.”
Senator Joseph Vitale expressed satisfaction about the findings of the report. "The families of the many individuals whose lives were shortened because of overdose deserve all of the credit for New Jersey receiving this recognition," said Senator Joe Vitale, the sponsor of the Overdose Prevention Act. "I remain committed to continue working with these families and with the Drug Policy Alliance to promote a public health response to addiction."