Future Of 'Reach NJ' Ads Uncertain

Jan 19, 2018

The future of New Jersey’s ad campaign to combat the opioid epidemic is being examined.

The state spent about $42 million on the ‘Reach NJ’ ads that featured former Governor Chris Christie telling people where to call for help.

“If you’re struggling with addiction, supporting someone who is, or just don’t know where to turn, don’t suffer. Help is within reach.”

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says the state needs to determine whether the ads are having the desired effect.

“We don’t know how many people actually were connected to help. And then what’s the follow up? Were they successful in getting either outpatient help or some form of residential treatment? We don’t have that data. We don’t know whether it actually works.”

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg says the state should explore lower cost ways and different content to get out the anti-addiction message.

“You feature the governor, particularly a governor who knew he was a lame duck governor, one going out of office, you have a shelf life on an ad. So that is a poor investment.”

Weinberg says the state should investigate using social media and free public service announcements for its outreach campaign instead of spending millions on anti-opioid commercials.

“What’s the cost benefit of putting an ad like this on and taking money away from preschool and grants for college students? It seems to me those help more than anything else to keep young people away from opioid or any other addiction that’s out there.”