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Downey, Houghtaling, Benson & Vainieri Huttle Legislation to Combat Opioid and Substance Abuse Disorders Clears Assembly Committee

(TRENTON) – Many people face a daily struggle to fight opioid and other substance use disorders.  Treatment and prevention services are often required to help those suffering from substance abuse overcome their addictions.  To ensure that those who need help get the services they need, Assembly Democrats Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) sponsor legislation to establish a five-year social innovation loan guarantee pilot program to encourage private investment in health care services for the treatment and prevention of opioid and other substance use disorders.

Social Innovation loans are leadership tools to employ innovative solutions that address long-term social problems.  Programs aimed at preventing and treating substance use disorders are cost-effective ways to make sure people are getting the help they need.  Under the bill (A-998), the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority (HCFFA) will guarantee loan agreements between investors and eligible nonprofit organizations and State agencies.  Along with the pilot program, the bill will also establish the New Jersey Social Innovation Study Commission to identify eligible nonprofit programs for loans, solicit donations for the fund, help negotiate terms and conditions for the loan agreements, and assist the HCFFA with any issues related to the program.

Upon Assembly Human Services Committee approval of the measure, Downey, Houghtaling, Benson, and Vainieri Huttle issued the following joint statement:

“With this bill we are able to foster social innovation and give government programs additional help to further the State’s battle against substance use disorders.

“It is often difficult for the State alone to tackle these important issues.  It is imperative that we have health care services and corporations embark on a new path to combat opioid and substance abuse disorders.

“We must work to solve these issues with a multi-faceted approach.  With the loans received and the Study Commission, health care services and other organizations will be able to further focus on projects and areas where there may be at-risk youths and many more fighting addictions.”