Morris County Invests $400,000 in Opioid Battle: Programs Funded by Settlement


Legal Settlements Provide Critical Funding for Opioid Addiction Programs in Morris County.

In a pivotal decision, the Morris County Board of County Commissioners has allocated $400,000, sourced from legal settlements with pharmaceutical companies implicated in the opioid crisis, to underpin five pivotal programs in 2024. These initiatives, driven by a blend of three non-profit organizations and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, are strategized to provide comprehensive support encompassing treatment, prevention, and other vital measures against opioid addiction.

This financial endorsement was guided by the recommendations of the Morris County Opioid Advisory Council, an entity established within the year as a specialized task force of the Morris County Mental Health & Addiction Services Advisory Board. Their role was to gather insights and pinpoint the most impactful programs deserving of the opioid settlement funds.

Highlighting the severity of the situation, Christine Myers, the Morris County Commissioner Deputy Director and liaison to the Department of Human Services, expressed the deep impact of the opioid crisis on local communities. The allocation of these funds is seen as a crucial step in aiding recovery efforts and preventing future addiction.

New Jersey, along with all its counties and over 240 municipalities, is part of a national settlement with various pharmaceutical entities accused of contributing to the opioid epidemic. From this, more than $50 billion in settlements is anticipated nationally over two decades, with New Jersey expecting to receive around $1.1 billion. This sum will be distributed between state-level initiatives and local entities, including Morris County and its municipalities.

The Morris County Department of Human Services initiated a call for program proposals last fall, focusing on diverse areas such as harm reduction, early intervention, recovery housing, outreach, and case management. The Council’s recommendations, which have received the Commissioners' approval, aim to bolster an already robust network of existing programs tackling drug abuse and overdose prevention in the county.

The selected programs for 2024 include:

  • Prevention is Key - Morris County Harm Reduction Program: Aims to expand access to harm reduction services and educate community members and partners.
  • Prevention is Key- Combatting Opioids: Focuses on stigma reduction, awareness, and fostering recovery in early stages.
  • The Milestone House - Recovery Housing: Offers supportive living environments and resources for sustained recovery.
  • NewBridge Services - Outreach and Case Management: Targets individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders, aiding them in navigating treatment and recovery services.
  • The Morris County Sheriff’s Office – Hope One: An outreach program that provides access to community-based services, including Narcan training.

The funding allocation process, overseen by the Department of Human Services, involved comprehensive community engagement through public and virtual listening sessions. This inclusive approach was instrumental in shaping the funding priorities and ensuring the selection of programs that address the community's most pressing needs.

As Morris County anticipates future allocations from the opioid settlement funds, this established process promises continued support for impactful programs and ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

For a deeper understanding, refer to the executive summary of the National Opioid Settlements.

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