Opioid Crisis: New Treatment Tactics Emerge

By Robert J. Budosck and Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Seat belts.  Bicycle helmets.  Designated drivers.  These and other common harm reduction tactics and strategies are almost universally accepted and have resulted in a drastic reduction of injuries and countless lives saved.  In that same vein, those of us in the drug treatment and recovery world have been investigating and trialing harm reduction strategies that have the potential to save lives, but perhaps more importantly, can start many on a path toward long-term recovery.

We’re all aware of the harm and potential for overdose death associated with illicit drug use.  It’s become a national epidemic. But previous tactics, from “just say no” to harsh prison sentences, have done virtually nothing to slow the rate of overdose deaths.  It’s time that we try new approaches – and document their effectiveness to create evidence-based tactics that prove successful.

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In Open Letter To Rape Victim, Vainieri Huttle Says Judge Should Resign

Dear “Mary”,

I, like so many, read a recent New York Times article detailing the two separate ways in which you have been brutalized: once by a rapist and once by a misogynistic judge.

In 2016 Brock Turner was given a meager sentence for the rape of a young, unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The Judge expressed regret that the trial could impede his successful career as a Division 1 swimmer. That same year, an Ocean County judge informed a rape victim that she should have attempted to “close her legs” during her attack.

Unfortunately, you alone are not the only woman to face an injustice of this magnitude at the hands of the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, you are one of the many whose suffering was deepened due to the misogyny, insensitivity and disregard of our justice system.

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Finding New Ways to Combat NJ’s Opioid Crisis

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. More than 700,000 Americans die of drug overdoses each year, and everyday more than eight people die alone in New Jersey. That to say, that, often times, overdose deaths occur in the shadows, where many victims die alone. In New Jersey and around the country, families and communities are being devastated by this crisis. Something more must be done.

The Murphy administration has done its part in committing to fighting the opioid epidemic. New Jersey has improved its Medicaid regulations to make opioid treatment more accessible for Medicaid recipients and the state continues to invest in treatments and programs to help those struggling with addiction. Meantime, in partnership with pharmacies across the state, the Department of Human Services will be providing naloxone, also referred to as narcan -- the opioid overdose reversal drug -- for free at participating pharmacies. This is an incredible initiative that will help save lives – but it is not enough.

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Honoring the Women of our Time

We are currently witnessing a gender revolution, what some may call social upheaval — I like to call it a long time coming. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 has ignited many, peeling away at the apathy that many in the progressive movement have deferred to. This new wave of political engagement, especially among women, has sparked movements across the country calling for transparency in government, justice for victims of sexual violence and a push to bring more women into positions of power in our governing bodies.

From the Women’s March to #MeToo and March for Our Lives, women are speaking out and for once it feels like people are listening. In November, we saw 117 women elected to Congress, bringing the total number to 127 women serving in the 116th Congress. This new class is younger and more diverse than ever, their election takes a significant step forward in ensuring that our representatives look like the people they represent.

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NJ’s LGBT curriculum ‘accurate, inclusive, and respectful’

Huttle: NJ’s LGBT curriculum ‘accurate, inclusive, and respectful’

“Way to go, New Jersey – you change history and now it’s Adam and Steve instead of Adam and Eve.”

“I’m not for it. Either way, how I raise my kids is my business, not the school’s or government’s.”

“It’s so dumb. How about you teach the kids real history?”

These are examples of criticisms facing the new LGBT-inclusive curriculum law in New Jersey. Just recently, Gov. Phil Murphy made New Jersey the second state in the nation to require boards of education to adopt school curriculum that accurately portrays the contributions of persons with disabilities and the LGBT community.

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Save lives and save humanity — stop human trafficking

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all persons held as slaves shall be forever free. More than 150 years later, modern slavery still exists in the United States — but now it’s called human trafficking.

It’s one of the most significant crises we face as a society today. 

In recent years human trafficking has risen to the forefront as one of the nation's most devastatingly, severe crimes against humanity.

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No ‘box’ needed for First Lady Tammy Murphy

“I think everyone’s put me in a box,” New Jersey’s new First Lady Tammy Murphy said in a recent interview that was part of a profile by The Record and northjersey.com.

“I’m not sure that that box is going to contain me because I am very flexible,” she added.

Flexible or not, we can’t pretend that our state’s leaders or voters have ever defined what the “First Lady” box should look like.

It’s disingenuous to suggest that any political spouse should or ever has played merely a sideline role.

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Christie’s 11th hour move begs the question, 'Why?'

In the waning hours of June, while all eyes in Trenton were transfixed on the looming state shutdown, Governor Christie quietly served notice that he intended to transfer the state’s mental health and addiction services from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health.

This move went largely unnoticed for days until the tumult caused by the shutdown had subsided. It was then that we began hearing from advocates and providers in the community who were alarmed by this sudden policy shift and the impact it will have on some of our state’s most vulnerable.

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The struggle for transgender rights isn't surprising

Last week, The Record published “Joe Loses Spot in Pack” about Joe Maldonado, an 8-year-old child who was kicked out of Cub Scout Pack 87 because he is transgender. After a month of his membership, the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts informed the Maldonado family that other parents complained about including a transgender boy in the pack.

The actions taken by the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts against Joe Maldonado are sad and unfair, but not surprising.  In recent years, we have seen the LGBT community make tremendous strides, especially in 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down the ban on same-sex marriage. Transgender citizens, however, are still struggling in their own fight for equality.

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