New Jersey is one of nine sites nationally chosen for the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Initiative. The campaign is an advocacy and communications effort to expand access to high-quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction for individuals who need it.
Only 59,800 of New Jersey's 817,000 residents who needed treatment received it in 2007.
This alarming addiction treatment gap in New Jersey mirrors a national problem. In 2007, 23.2 million Americans needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, but only 10 percent of them were able to get treatment for this chronic health condition. The vast majority of those who need help are unable to get addiction treatment, either due to lack of health insurance, inadequate insurance coverage or a lack of treatment services in communities.
“If this disease had any other name, the residents of New Jersey would not tolerate seeing thousands of neighbors, family members, and coworkers remaining untreated,” said Victor A. Capoccia, director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative. “Addiction is a chronic health condition, and it can be treated effectively. This important initiative in New Jersey will enable more residents who need addiction treatment to get it.”
Senator Joseph Vitale (D, Middlesex), Chairman of the New Jersey Senate’s Health, Human and Senior Services Committee stated, “I have witnessed firsthand the devastation experienced by New Jersey’s residents who struggle with the illness of addiction. Estranged from both family and community and unable to access needed treatment, these citizens cannot lead productive and fulfilling lives; this unfortunate situation results in greater societal and governmental costs. This cycle of devastation can only be remedied by directing ill residents to appropriate treatment channels – a goal which forms the core of New Jersey’s ‘Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap’ project.”
NCADD-NJ was selected from a pool of 35 applicants after a competitive, rigorous selection process. Each proposal was evaluated by a panel that included national experts in addiction treatment advocacy and financing. Twelve organizations were selected for full-day site visits. A review team then evaluated the projects’ strengths, financing, and advocacy strategies and recommended the final eight.
“It is an honor to have been selected by the Open Society Institute to receive this grant,” stated Wayne Wirta, President and CEO of NCADD-NJ. “The provision of adequate addiction treatment resources is a critical issue here in New Jersey, as in the rest of the nation. It is unique to have a foundation support communication and advocacy efforts to support a change in public policy. We are fortunate to have these resources for our state. NCADD-NJ intends to make the most of them and be successful in expanding the resources available for addiction treatment.”
A key component of CATG-NJ is NCADD-NJ’s Advocacy Leadership Program. NCADD-NJ’s Advocacy Leadership Program is designed to foster, support and promote a generation of leaders in New Jersey committed to confronting the state’s most pressing addiction treatment, prevention and recovery issues. The program, currently in its fourth year, has 105 members.