Senator Michael Testa is raising concern over the substantial spike in opioid overdose deaths throughout the government-mandated shutdown. According to published reports, overdoses in New Jersey have increased by 20 percent in comparison to last year’s statistics.
Sen. Michael Testa is raising concern over the substantial spike in opioid overdose deaths throughout the government-mandated shutdown. (Wikimedia Commons)
“They say ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop,’ and this extended period of forced inactivity and limited social interaction can lead many back to bad habits, or worse,” said Testa (R-1). “The supposed ‘shutdown for the common good’ has resulted in overwhelming negative consequences for local economies and the mental health of individuals. Getting folks back to work with safety precautions in place will reduce seclusion and enhance normalcy, stability, and restore self-worth for those seeking and maintaining sobriety.”
Former Governor Chris Christie brought statewide and national attention to the opioid crisis, creating Reach NJ’s drug addiction hotline and expanding access to rehab programs. Testa believes his proactive campaign to battle the opioid epidemic has fallen to the wayside under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership.
“As I have been warning for quite some time, the only lives being lost are not just the ones from COVID-19,” said former Governor Chris Christie. “Our overextended lockdown in New Jersey and the resulting economic devastation to so many of our citizens is leading to this loss of life. In addition, increases in domestic violence and other mental health issues are happening every day we stay closed. What’s the data on them? When will we decide their lives are worth saving?”
Testa noted that under Governor Murphy’s State lockdown valuable in-person programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous were stifled.
“Ramifications of the shutdown have proven to be dangerous and deadly,” added Testa. “People are worried, financially strapped, and the pressure is taking its toll. I am calling for more resources to be utilized to battle the overdose crisis, especially during these unprecedented times.”
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