Grewal creates office to fight opioid crisis

By Eric Strauss
Trenton | Feb 22, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has created an office within the Office of the Attorney General that is devoted to fighting the ongoing opioid addiction problem, he announced Thursday.

The Office of the New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Response and Enforcement Strategies, or “NJ CARES,” will oversee addiction-fighting efforts and create partnerships with other agencies and groups battling the crisis, according to a news release.

“The opioid crisis is unprecedented in its scope and devastating in its intensity, and our response must be equally broad in scope and intensity,” Grewal said as he gave the keynote address at a multistate symposium on opioids at the Seton Hall University School of Law. “The Office of the New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Response and Enforcement Strategies, or NJ CARES, will combine all the relevant authority and resources within the Department of Law and Public Safety to unleash a full attack on this deadly epidemic.”

Sharon M. Joyce, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs and a deputy director in the Division of Law, will serve as NJ CARES director. She is a 38-year veteran of the Department of Law and Public Safety.

“I am honored and ready to lead NJ CARES on its mission to free New Jersey from the chains of addiction and provide relief to those suffering from it,” she said in a statement. “The programs we’re announcing today create partnerships throughout the state that will make us all stronger, better-informed and more capable of defeating the scourge of addiction.”

Planned initiatives include 24/7 “Opioid Response Teams,” inter-agency data sharing and an online portal for the public, as well as enhancements to the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.

Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | acerimrat