Senate Health Committee Sets Public Hearing for March 16th on Adolescent Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment

The New Jersey Senate Committee has set a public hearing for March 16th on adolescent residential substance abuse disorder treatment. This week’s guest blogger, Jim Curtin, President & CEO of Daytop New Jersey is urging all of us to share our concerns about the loss of funding in recent years and the potential lack of this treatment option for our state’s young people. 

All the best, 
Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ

 

By Jim Curtin, President & CEO Daytop New Jersey 

 At the urging of Senator Anthony Bucco, Senator Vitale, the Chairman of the Health Committee, has agreed to hold a hearing where testimony will be heard by treatment experts, graduates of Daytop New Jersey and family members of loved ones who have been treated at Daytop. You can find a sample letter here.

In 2014, the state of New Jersey decided to move seven adolescent residential treatment facilities that were operated by six providers, that all had been providing residential treatment to youth for decades. At that time, there were approximately 350 contracted beds that were moved from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Department of Children and Families. The idea was to “put all the kids together”, and the young people being served in these settings would greatly benefit from enhanced services due to a rate increase and an increase in expected deliverables.

In 2015, reimbursement paid to treatment providers was changed from a cost-based system of reimbursement to fee-for-service. The end result has been quite tragic as all the beds have vanished due to underutilization. As beds have remained open, providers have repurposed beds to serve adults, stopped serving teenagers altogether or closed their facilities. The only original treatment providers that remain from the transfers in 2014 are Daytop and New Hope.

The question is why? The question is how could this be? How at a time in our state when we’re still losing 3000 of our family, friends, colleagues, loved ones in a year to fatal overdoses? And we continue to see increasing numbers of young adults, who if they’re lucky, make it to a state funded treatment program. Virtually none of these young adults began using drugs after their teenage years. They were missed as youth! We’re missing our young people who typically don’t call out for help, even if they’re concerned about their own drug use. Stigma causes shame, and we still have a long way to go in our country in fighting the stigma associated with people who suffer with substance uses disorders.

We will ask the Senate Health Committee for an infusion of funding to keep programs in operation. We will also ask the Committee to establish a fee-for-services oversight committee just as Senator Vitale has done for the adult substance use disorders treatment sector. We will ask the Committee to fix a broken system, and one that, places all the funding risk on treatment providers and none on the state.

The hearing begins at 1pm on March 16,2020 at the Statehouse in Trenton. Please provide a written letter of support by emailing it to jcurtin@daytopnj.org. Also, please show up at the hearing and be present for an issue that needs your support.

Notice: This article reflects the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ). This information should not be construed as legal advice from the author or PDFNJ. Please consult your own attorney before making any legal decisions

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