NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, and Cory Booker today announced the awarding of $1,349,997 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support Rutgers University’s Opioid Workforce Expansion program.

“This is critical federal funding New Jersey needs to combat the growing opioid epidemic in our state,” said Sen. Menendez. “Opioid abuse does not discriminate and, as a result, far too many families have been torn apart by the scourge of addiction. With this funding, along with SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act that was signed into law last year, which included several provisions I wrote, those struggling with addiction across our state and nation will have greater access to the treatment and services they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

“We have seen the devastating toll our nation’s opioid crisis has taken on families and communities across New Jersey,” said Sen. Booker. “Ending this epidemic requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach and this federal investment will expand New Jersey’s capacity to offer those facing addiction the behavioral health treatment they need from trained professionals. I remain committed to fighting for additional federal resources and finding innovative approaches to address this crisis and build upon last year’s SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.”

The Opioid Workforce Expansion Program supports community-based training for future behavioral health professionals with an emphasis on treating Opioid Use Disorder. The training will focus on integrating behavioral and primary health care to best help individuals fighting Substance Use Disorder.

Last year, Sen. Menendez visited John Brooks Recovery Center in Atlantic County to highlight his efforts to help individuals and families struggling with addiction.

Because of Sen. Menendez’s work, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act provides states with greater flexibility to broaden treatment options and support family-focused treatment programs to keep children out of foster care while a parent gains the tools necessary to succeed in recovery. The law also includes a measure introduced with Sen. Booker that expands the pioneering approach to pain management alternatives developed by St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson to dramatically reduce the use of opioids in emergency rooms.