East Hanover, NJ – “This is a proud moment for NJ 2-1-1,” exclaimed board president Gina Plotino, as she welcomed Governor Chris Christie to the podium at the NJ 2-1-1 call center on Thursday April 6th. NJ 2-1-1 powers ReachNJ, New Jersey’s Addiction Helpline. First introduced in the Governor’s State of the State address on January 10, ReachNJ provides those with an addiction a clear path to recovery. Governor Christie visited NJ 2-1-1 to personally thank the community resource specialists who he said, are the “voice of hope” as they respond to inquiries for help from people and families suffering with addiction. He credited all the staff by saying that at NJ 2-1-1 callers would find, "a warm and informed response and the help they needed to take the next step."
The governor also announced the expansion of the ReachNJ campaign which promotes life-saving treatment and services to families and individuals fighting addiction. During his remarks he highlighted startling statistics including:
- One American dies every 19 minutes from an overdose of heroin or prescription opioid.
- Drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes.
- In NJ, the drug overdose death rate increased nearly 22 percent between 2014 and 2015, with a 30 percent increase in heroin deaths over the previous year.
- In our state, four times the number of people died of drug overdoses than were murdered in 2016 and three times the number of people who were killed in motor vehicle crashes during that same time period.
- According to 2014 federal data, at least 89 percent of the people who met the definition of having a drug use disorder did not get treatment.