Gov. Chris Christie signs executive order declaring opioid abuse a public health crisis in NJ

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed Executive Order 219 on Tuesday declaring the opioid epidemic a public health crisis in the state.

The order creates a drug abuse task force — which will be led by Charlie McKenna, executive director of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority — to work with state, local, and federal governments, as well as private entities to combat opioid abuse in the state. The task force will examine current barriers preventing those with substance abuse issues from receiving treatment and make recommendations to rescind or amend any such statutes or regulations contributing to said barriers.

"Opioid drug abuse is one of the most challenging issues facing us not only as Americans but as New Jerseyans," said Gov. Christie. "The crisis is pervasive — impacting our families, friends, neighbors and coworkers. The steps I am taking today through this Executive Order recognize the severity of the crisis and pull together the efforts of all state government agencies."

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