The NJ Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiates was created in March of 2012. We held hearings around NJ throughout the summer and fall of 2012, and we heard from a variety of professionals and experts. I also spoke with about 100 parents whose children had died from using opiates. Much of 2013 was spent on discussing, arguing over and writing the report. In the fall of 2013, we were struck with a series of delays. I was crestfallen, but hoped that the state would eventually release the report.
The report was released on March 18, 2014. I issued a statement about it:
It has been a long, cold winter.
It was made colder and darker by the continued explosion of the opiate epidemic in NJ and around the nation. High profile deaths made and continue to make news. I’ve been more concerned about the low-profile deaths – those of our children who quietly die in public restrooms, abandoned cars or their own bedrooms while their parents are sleeping.
My world was brightened last Thursday when Chairman Van Ess came to me in person and informed me that the Task Force Report would be released today. I am proud of the work that Task Force members and GCADA staff put into this. I am most pleased that we have made good on our promise to the parents that have suffered from the tragic loss of their children and given a forum for their story and proposed a series of solutions to the heroin plague.
This is only the beginning though, and good policies must continue to grow out of this. Some of our suggestions can be implemented immediately…others will take longer. Over time, we will see what works and what doesn’t – and what suggestions should be strengthened and intensified.
To those of you that are present at this joyous occasion and are hearing these words, I have a request:
Spread the word
Share this report with your friends and family
Make sure your town council and state legislators have seen it
Urge newspapers to write about it
Be a part of this
The complete report can be found here: NJ Task Force Report