Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., needs to hit the "reset button" on his strategy to combat opioid abuse in his state, according to Steve Forbes, the Forbes Media chairman and editor-in-chief.
"He has proposed a plan to combat opioid abuse that doesn't make sense," Forbes wrote Thursday on FoxNews.com. "He has been given bad advice. He needs to hit the reset button and come up with a strategy that will fix this serious problem without creating more problems."
Heroin overdoses in New Jersey are triple the national average, and drug overdose is now the state's No. 1 cause of accidental death, Forbes noted.
Forbes' concern centers on Christie announcing he would take $300 million from the reserves of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to expand drug rehabilitation treatment. While Christie said Horizon had an "abundant surplus," Forbes said it would only cover 75 days of claims, or just a single day of hospital care for each holder of a policy.
Christie's plan would also increase costs for Horizon's 3.8 million members, Forbes said.
Alternatives include looking to the pharmaceutical industry for help, and working with charities and nonprofits to help drug addicts.
The chairman reserved praise for Christie, saying, "New Jersey has been lucky to have him."
However, "No responsible person could agree with him on this particular plan," Forbes added.
For Christie, opioid abuse is a personal issue: A close friend of his died from painkillers and alcohol, according to NBC News.
The governor was expected to join a White House commission to focus on the epidemic.
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