Hosting Governor Christie in Support of Addiction Treatment

from left to Right, Trish Toole, Carrier Clinic Vice President Administrative Services, Donald Parker, Carrier Clinic CEO & president, Governor Christie, Carrier Clinic Trustees Donna Simon and Nick Hilton

Carrier Clinic® hosts Governor Christie in support of Addiction Treatment

Governor Chris Christie was at Carrier Clinic®, an NJ psychiatric hospital and recovery center, this morning to speak with treatment providers and patients in recovery about the struggles and barriers facing those with addictive illnesses.

“There is treatment available for people, but in our society, people with addiction issues are worried to look for a helping hand. We need to move society’s reaction to addiction to the same place as their reaction to a medical illness, so they can be helped, and not feel ashamed,” said the Governor, as he spoke to more than a dozen Carrier Clinic employees, board members, and former patients.

“Stigma is alive and well, and the alcoholic or addict feels that stigma as much, if not more than a family member does,” said Steve Drzewoszewski, Director of Blake Recovery Center at Carrier Clinic. He continued, “and the cost of treatment for those without insurance, and even the high cost of insurance deductibles for those with insurance are major barriers to treatment.”

Donald J. Parker, Carrier Clinic’s president and CEO, met with Governor Christie prior to the roundtable dialogue to discuss the national addiction epidemic, and share new treatment strategies and initiatives being used at Blake Recovery Center to help combat addiction illnesses.

Parker remarked, “our Governor has repeatedly demonstrated his leadership capabilities most visibly during the natural disasters our state has endured. In many ways, substance abuse exceeds the risk we faced during those national disasters. The lives at stake and damage to society are greater. Once again, the governor is bringing to our attention the risks and dangers that those of us who are vulnerable to addiction face throughout the year, and especially during the ‘stress storm’ of the holidays. Very few political leaders understand both the personal toll and the professional challenge of treating addiction as well as our governor. We are honored to have him working with us to combat this deadly disease.”

Keith Kloos, Intensive Outpatient Program therapist at Carrier Clinic and volunteer at City of Angels in Newark, shared his experience with addiction from both sides. “I was an athlete, I came from a good family – I went from an injury, to painkillers, to sleeping under a bridge. But people do get better. I was fortunate. But finding beds for treatment is hard. I know of a client who died waiting three weeks for a bed. Three weeks for a heroin addict is a death sentence.”

The Governor also spoke about Medicaid and the possible changes to healthcare coming with the election of Trump. “I think he is going to, fairly quickly, make changes to the Medicaid program that gives much greater flexibility to the governors to decide what type of treatment, what type of exceptions, what type of requirements are particularly a need for your state. We’re going to be taking a whole new look at Medicaid and how we operate it.”

Christie ended the roundtable discussion with the statement, “We’ve got so much work to do – so much work to do – but you should feel incredibly empowered here at Carrier Clinic – you’re saving lives.”

About Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic

Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic is a nonprofit Central Jersey behavioral health care provider, specializing in psychiatric and addiction treatment. Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic includes an inpatient psychiatric hospital, detoxification and rehabilitation centeradolescent and teen residential facility, and a fully accredited middle and high school for students classified emotionally disturbed. For more information about Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic and its services contact us through our website or call 1-800-933-3579.

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Phil Hartman
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