New Jersey Department of Education

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Governor Christie Announces Opioid Curriculum Resources For Schools And Increase In Access To Academic Instruction And Treatment For Students In Recovery

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brian Murray
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Trenton, NJ - Governor Chris Christie today announced the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has issued opioid curriculum resources, developed in collaboration with state and local agencies and community stakeholders, along with $2.7 million in grant awards to three school districts to expand access to recovery high schools for students battling addiction. These initiatives are part of the Governor's anti-opioid campaign to create or enhance opportunities for addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery.

"We continue to make key investments in prevention efforts in order to help save innocent young lives from the disease of addiction before it starts," said Governor Christie. "It is a top priority to ensure our children learn about the consequences of addiction, and make crucial supports available to those in need of treatment."

New Jersey Governor's Executive Order No. 219 directed the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education to develop comprehensive curriculum resources to educate children about the dangers of substance abuse. The Education Commissioner convened a committee comprised of NJDOE and school personnel, parents, law enforcement, county and state agencies, professional organizations, and mental health/behavioral experts. The committee worked collaboratively to identify evidence-based opioid curriculum resources, programs, and practices to support the instruction of the K-12 New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The suite of opioid curriculum resources were made available today on the NJDOE website and will be sent to all school districts.

New Jersey's two existing public recovery high schools – Raymond Lesniak ESH Recovery High School in Union County and KEYS Academy in Matawan-Aberdeen in Monmouth County – each received $1.3 million through the Recovery High School Access Project grant to increase the number of students able to attend the programs. Additionally, Middle Township School District (Cape May County) was selected to receive up to $100,000 through the Recovery High School Planning Project grant, allowing the district to conduct a needs assessment, research, and program planning for the establishment of a recovery high school in the southern region of the state.

"New Jersey schools not only provide children with academic education, but help them develop the social and emotional skills needed to make positive and healthy choices in their lives," said Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington. "By providing schools with these opioid curriculum resources and expanding the educational opportunities for students battling substance abuse, New Jersey children will know more about the health risks associated with opioid use, persevere through recovery, and be empowered to seek help for themselves or others."

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