Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday how $200 million in state funding will be used for new and continuing addiction prevention, treatment and recovery programs and services across the state, leaving some South Jersey providers cautiously optimistic.

Speaking at the non-profit addiction treatment center Integrity House in Newark, Christie said funding will target programs and services for supportive housing, recovery coaches, pregnant and addicted mothers and prison populations, among others.

“The crisis is upon us, well upon us,” he said. “We can’t focus purely on prevention and wipe our hands clean of those already lost to the carnage of addiction. This is where many of the 25 initiatives come into play."

Christie’s announcement came just one day after he, National Institutes of Health experts, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and pharmaceutical executives announced a new anti-opioid partnership between government and pharma to combat addiction on a national level.

Following a White House opioid commission meeting in Trenton Monday, Christie said health experts and pharmaceutical companies have pledged to work together to develop more nonaddictive pain medications and more medication-assisted treatments for those already with substance use disorders.

On the state level, Christie read through a list of areas where state funding will go to support new and current programs.

Christie said he can take money from other state budget items to put toward a public health crisis, which he intends to do so for the $200 million opioid funding, after an agreement with the state legislature during budget negotiations.

Christie said the funding re-allocations will not lead any significant reductions in other areas. This will be his last action on a major spending program as governor, he said, aside from any unexpected or natural disasters that may occur between now and January.

One of the biggest funding initiatives outlined Tuesday was the creation of an Incentive-Based Opioid Recovery Program under the state Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which will use $40 million to fund three pilot sites where providers pledge to offer holistic care for low-income adults, Medicaid or uninsured adults who have severe opioid-use disorders.

Christie said providers will get incentive payments when they are able to hit retention, relapse prevention, housing and employment benchmarks among clients.

Other big items include the expansion of the state’s recovery coach program and supportive housing. The former, which just recently came to Atlantic County through AtlantiCare, will get $21 million to establish a program for every county.

The programs certify people in long-term addiction recovery to connect and help others who come through hospital emergency rooms after a drug-related overdose.

The state Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services will use $36 million to expand supportive housing for adults with substance use disorders, though some South Jersey providers questioned if that would include sober living homes, which experts say lack housing designation and oversight in New Jersey.

About $20 million will go toward the expansion of Keeping Families Together programs in Salem, Cape May, Passaic, Essex, Middlesex, Camden, Atlantic, Cumberland and Gloucester counties.

Robin’s Nest, which runs an Atlantic/Cumberland/Gloucester program, provides supportive housing and services for families involved with the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, formerly the Division of Youth and Family Services. The program helps children stay with parents while they get help for addiction, mental illness and domestic violence.

Alan Oberman, CEO of John Brooks Recovery Center, said while all the initiatives outlined in the governor's plan have good intentions and goals, he has doubts that many of the newer programs will be established and operational before Christie leaves office. 

"None of these things are bad in title, but it's about getting into the weeds of it all," he said. "What is this really going to look like when it's implemented, especially with the Request for Proposal processes? They are all good things, but it’s the timelines, implementation and the neglect of funding for more brick-and-mortar development of new facilities and beds that I'm looking at."

Additional state opioid initiatives include:

• $5 million to the state Department of Health to create residential treatment for pregnant women and new mothers suffering from addiction. There will be a new program in each of the northern, central and southern regions of the state.

• $1.2 million will train state Department of Corrections custody staff to administer Narcan. Funds will also provide each staff member with a dose to carry on their person to use on inmates and one Narcan dose to each inmate upon release.

• $1.5 million will double funding used for substance use navigators, who help youth with substance use disorders, their families and community partners working with the state Department of Children and Families.

• $8 million will be used to help state colleges and universities provide on-campus substance-free housing and supportive services for students in recovery.

• $1.32 will expand a pilot program with a New Jersey college or university to increase training for people to become Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors.

• $1 million will allow state officials to hire Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors at prenatal clinics or other health clinics in counties that have the highest incidence of women who are pregnant and have an opioid addiction.

• Another $1 million will go toward a state Department of Health opioid education campaign for obstetricians that aims to help medical professionals reduce the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which can result from drug use during pregnancy.

• About $1.8 million will be used to fortify the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, which records prescribing information for patients and prevents people from “doctor shopping”

• The state Medical Examiner’s Office will use $1.75 million to improve laboratory work, technology and staff resources.

• $2 million will be used for ongoing training of state Department of Corrections staff on addiction treatment, drug diversion, confidentiality and other topics.

• The state Department of Education will oversee $2.7 million in funding aimed at helping youth recover from addiction at Knowledge, Empowerment, Youth and Sobriety Academy in Matawan, slated to open Oct. 1, and Raymond Lesniak recovery High School in Union County. The department will offer $100,000 of the funding in grants to plan for a recovery high school in South Jersey.

• $5 million will develop peer recovery support services for parents with substance use disorders who are involved with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. There will be two peer recovery specialists in each county.

• $500,000 will hire five additional Drug and Alcohol Counselors who ensure juvenile parolees continue addiction treatment after leaving prison. The positions will be at Warren Residential Community Home, Northern Regional Transitional Home, Green Residential Community Home and parole unites in Camden, Newark and Trenton/New Brunswick.