TRENTON – The Division of Addiction Services (DAS) is awarding nearly $5 million to providers in four cities to fund mobile medication units to treat intravenous drug users, Commissioner Jennifer Velez announced today. Treatment in three of those cities will be coordinated with syringe exchange programs.
A total of $1.2 million for operational costs was awarded to Paterson Counseling in Paterson ; $1.2 million to the Institute of Human Development in Atlantic City ; and $2.4 million to NHS Human Services for services in Camden and Trenton .
“These mobile medication units will allow us to go directly to where the services are most needed,” Commissioner Velez said at a press conference held at the DHS building on South Warren Street . “This pilot treatment program will be one of the most comprehensive and progressive in the country and will allow us to help guide more people on the path to recovery.”
Sen. Nia Gill, who sponsored the law that funds the treatment program, praised medication-assisted treatment as a proven method for addiction recovery.
“It is truly satisfying that the Division of Addiction Services is using the 10 million dollars allocated for drug treatment in a comprehensive manner which will surely accomplish the goals of the Bloodborne Disease harm Reduction Act,” Sen. Gill said during the press conference. “The implementation of these mobile medical units highlights a progressive and innovative approach in not only tackling the addiction problem here in New Jersey, but also in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne diseases.”
Each of the contract recipients will provide mobile medication, office-based services and outreach. They will offer methadone maintenance, suboxone detoxification and induction and corresponding office-based services six days per week to intravenous drug users, using a state-provided mobile unit.
DAS Medical Director Dr. Louis Baxter, who also is a nationally known expert on addiction medicine, spoke about the strides that have been made by the use of medication in treatment protocols.
The mobile units will be situated in close proximity to cities where the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has approved the development of sterile syringe exchange programs.
The four contracts were awarded after an open, competitive bidding process in which eight applications were received by DAS. Eligibility for these contracts was limited to applicants who are either public or private non-profit organizations licensed by the State of New Jersey to provide substance abuse treatment. The awardees will collaborate and coordinate with local health departments and sterile syringe exchange programs where possible.
This pilot program is funded by a $10 million appropriation to DAS from the Bloodborne Disease Harm Reduction Act, which was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and Senator Nia Gill, and was signed into law by Governor Corzine in December.
Additional components to the pilot program will include supportive housing, medical detoxification, voucher system for residential and outpatient treatment services, and evaluation. Funding requests for these services will be issued shortly. DAS also plans to solicit bids for another mobile medication unit.
Primary sponsors of the law include: Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, Jr., Senator Nia H. Gill,
Assemblyman Francis Blee, Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, Senator Bill Gormley, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Assemblyman William D. Payne, Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes, Jr., and Assemblyman Alfred E. Steele.