INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A round of applause engulfed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as he stepped up to the podium.
New Jersey’s two-term governor gave the keynote address during the eighth annual Prescription Drug Abuse & Heroin Symposium.
Christie shared with the crowd that he has allocated $200 million to fight the opioid crisis. Christie’s actions have turned one state prison into a drug treatment facility for inmates. He’s signed legislation where you don’t need a prescription to receive naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote, via Narcan.
The medication is used to block the effects of opioids in case of an overdose. Narcan has decreased the number of deadly overdoses.
Christie talked about legislation he signed in New Jersey that makes it easy for anyone to receive the antidote via Narcan with a prescription from your doctor.
It is estimated that 175 people died per day due to opioid overdoses according to Christie. Currently, President Donald Trump has assigned Christie to the national commission on the opioid crisis. In a couple of days, Christie is scheduled to deliver the commission’s final report to Trump.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, a Republican from Indiana, invited Christie to the symposium. During an hourlong speech, Christie shared startling statistics. According to Christie, American consume 85 percent of drugs in the world.
Hill was asked if Indiana is spending enough money to fight opioid addiction in the state.
“I don’t think it is a matter of how much money is spent,” Hill said. “Is Indiana doing enough, like holding events like today, to make sure people are aware of the problem.”
In a roomfull of experts, Christie appeared very knowledgeable on the topic of opioids. He shared stories of people he has encountered who are battling their addictions or who have even lost their lives during the fight.
Christie added that the opioid crisis is more deadly than the height of the AIDS epidemic.
“More people are dying. Just last year alone, 11,000 more people died of overdose death than those that died at the height of the AIDS crisis,” Christie said.
After answering all of the questions directed at him, Christie boarded a flight back to New Jersey to finish his report for Trump on the opioid crisis.